August 10, 2017 / 6:39 PM / 10 months ago

Graphic: World markets seismograph - charting disturbances

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Before this week’s jolt from rising North Korea tensions, world markets had rarely if ever been calmer or more buoyant.

People walk by New York Stock Exchange in the financial district in New York, U.S., August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Despite intense political uncertainty over the past 18 months surrounding the unexpected election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and Britain’s surprise decision to leave the European Union, volatility in key equity and bond markets had tested some of their lowest levels in a generation.

The S&P 500 this week completed a run of 15 consecutive closes less than 0.3 percent in either direction, a level of stability not seen since 1927, according to Deutsche Bank.

Wall Street and MSCI’s broadest measure of world stock markets are at all-time highs.

Yet as the escalation in nuclear tensions between the United States and North Korea has shown, confidence can very quickly evaporate.

Volatility spiked on Wednesday and Thursday to some of its highest levels since May. The rise in implied volatility on Wall Street was the second biggest in nearly a year.

The big question now is whether these gyrations quickly dissipate, as with so many similar spikes over the past year, or whether current events were a trigger for a more durable correction to one of the longest-running bull markets in history.

Below is a dashboard of charts that aim to capture the big picture of how market developments unfold.

Please see graphics below:

World equities slip off record highs:

Volatility spikes from historical lows:

Steep drops a fading memory on Wall Street:

Benchmark bond yields:

Shock absorbers:

Major volatility indexes:

Daily 52-week highs vs. lows on U.S. exchanges, declining volumes:

S&P 500 and NYSE margin debt:

Major S&P down days under the last four U.S. presidents:

Reporting by London and New York markets teams

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