Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc slumped 67 percent after saying it expects to post a loss of as much as 28 billion pounds ($41 billion) for 2008 and the government got ready to raise its stake in the lender. BASF SE dropped 4.6 percent as the largest chemical producer said demand deteriorated significantly.” Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index decreased 0.8 percent in New York. Stock markets in the U.S. are closed today for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Europe’s Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index slid 1.7 percent to 189.72, extending the measure’s 11 percent tumble during the past nine days as companies from Deutsche Bank AG to Alcoa Inc. fueled concern the global recession will wipe out profit growth. The U.K. government said it will guarantee toxic bank assets and gave the Bank of England unprecedented power to buy securities.
National benchmark indexes fell in all 18 western European markets. Germany’s DAX dropped 1.2 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.9 percent. Spain’s IBEX 35 tumbled 1.5 percent, led by Banco Santander SA.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 0.2 percent, as did Nasdaq-100 futures. Billionaire Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and one of the world’s most successful investors, said the U.S. has been struck by an economic Pearl Harbor,” according to remarks aired on Dateline NBC yesterday.
Brazil’s Bovespa Index sank 1.3 percent, led by Lojas Renner SA and Metalurgica Gerdau SA. Canada’s Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index lost 0.9 percent as Royal Bank of Canada declined. Asia’s MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.4 percent.