The dramatic fall in stock prices on Wall Street that has spooked equity markets around the world on Tuesday is making investors nervous that this could be the start of a new stock market crash.
But the underlying strength of the global economy seems to suggest that the sell-off might actually be just a temporary -- but long overdue -- correction to a more or less uninterrupted market rally since Donald Trump was elected US President in late 2016.
On Monday, New York's Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its steepest ever one-day point drop, shedding a total of 1,175.20 points or a hefty 4.6 percent in value.
That has triggered panic in Asia and Europe, where stock prices fell sharply on Tuesday.
"We haven't seen swings of such magnitude for a long time and in that sense, it's traumatic," said Jean-Francois Robin, bond strategist at Natixis.
"Lots of investors have become unaccustomed to so-called 'bear' markets."
The downturn began on Friday when bright US non-farm payrolls data sparked fears that inflation will surge this year -- and that the Federal Reserve will be forced to raise borrowing costs more quickly than anticipated.
"Markets sometimes have a tendency to create their own reality," said Vincent Juvyns, strategist at JPMorgan AM.
The pick-up in inflation and the rise in bond yields were already making investors jumpy and so the US jobs data on Friday could have just been a convenient excuse to start selling, he said.
"Objectively, the conditions are not in place for a real crash," Juvyns said. "From an economic point of view, nothing has changed. On the contrary, the latest indicators confirm that the global economy remains robust."
"The shares in the (French) CAC 40 index, for example, aren't expensive, particularly in view of the outlook for corporate earnings and economic growth. It's actually more of an opportunity to buy shares," Robin concluded.