The turmoil at SVB Financial Group shook markets around the world, raising concerns about the next shoe to drop at a time when the Federal Reserve is waging its most aggressive tightening campaign in a generation.
Even statements from prominent figures that a systemic financial crisis is unlikely did not calm investors. Equities fell, with the S&P 500 nearly wiping out its gains from 2023. Traders flocked to the safety of bonds, which also rose after jobs data offered a glimmer of hope that the Fed might hold off on speeding up rate hikes.
The US stock index had its worst week since September as risk assets were hammered. The so-called "fear gauge" on Wall Street spiked, with the Cboe Volatility Index reaching 29 at one point. Bitcoin fell below $20,000 for the first time. Two-year Treasury yields fell 29 basis points to 4.58%.
The official announcement that Silicon Valley Bank had become the largest US financial failure in more than a decade triggered further de-risking, after its long-established customer base of tech startups became concerned and yanked deposits. It is the second regional lender to fail this week, following the voluntary liquidation of Silvergate Capital.
Anxiety is also high ahead of next week's consumer price index report, particularly after Fed Chair Jerome Powell recently stated that a shift to a faster rate of tightening would be based on the "totality of the data."