Don't blame global stock markets for being skittish. It is August, after all, a month that has spelled trouble in the past two years.
Recall that, a year ago, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started wobbling at the precipice while AIG, desperate for cash, began paying junk-like yields in the corporate bond market. A month later, all hell broke loose.
In August 2007, a shutdown in short-term lending markets forced global policy makers to rush in with a flood of liquidity to keep the lifeblood of the financial system from clotting.
So it's only natural that, this year, sellers are trigger-happy at the slightest whiff of trouble.
Problems surfaced in the United States last week, when a double-whammy of soft retail sales followed by a drop in consumer sentiment reignited worries that for all the good cheer about an emerging recovery, the exhausted American shopper is still unfit to carry the economy.