Stocks in Europe, Asia, U.S. Index Futures Slump

Stocks tumbled in Europe and Asia and U.S. index futures retreated as bank bailouts accelerated and the $700 billion plan to rescue American financial institutions failed to unlock money markets.

Dexia SA sank 28 percent after the governments of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were forced to rescue Fortis and the U.K. seized Bradford & Bingley Plc. Hypo Real Estate Holding AG slumped 70 percent as the German government and a group of private banks provided a 35 billion-euro ($50 billion) guarantee for the commercial-property lender. Westpac Banking Corp. of Australia slid 3.5 percent. Wachovia Corp. declined 56 percent on increasing speculation the sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets may be forced to seek a buyer or mortgage partner.

Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index lost 3.2 percent to 257.45 at 12:40 p.m. in London. Futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 1.6 percent following the measure's steepest weekly slump since May. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 2.7 percent today.

National benchmark indexes fell in all of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 sank 3.5 percent, while France's CAC 40 lost 3.1 percent. Germany's DAX slid 2.9 percent as Commerzbank AG and Siemens AG also declined. Luxembourg's LuxX plunged 8.3 percent, led by Fortis and Dexia, the steepest drop today among benchmark gauges worldwide tracked by Bloomberg.

Russia's Micex
Index dropped the most in four days, led by OAO Sberbank, on concern more European banks may fail. The Micex fell 2.9 percent to 1,048.14 at 2:34 p.m. in Moscow, poised for a third day of declines.

Japan stocks fell for a third day as a record drop in cargo fees for commodities and a decline in oil overshadowed speculation bailouts will quell financial turmoil. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 149.55, or 1.3 percent, to close at 11,743.61 in Tokyo after gaining as much as 1.4 percent.

Indian stocks fell, with the benchmark index falling to its lowest in more than two months, after efforts to shore up paralyzed credit markets failed to assuage concerns that the global economy will slip into recession. The Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell 3.8 percent, to 12,595 as of 4 p.m. local time, its lowest since July 16.,
9/29/2008 5:08:17 AM