The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 4.9 percent to 87.86 as of 10:33 a.m. in Tokyo. The measure is poised to drop 16 percent this week, the biggest slump since the index was created on Dec. 31, 1987. Only four stocks gained in the 990 member gauge. S&P 500 index futures lost 2 percent.
Japan stocks fell, dragging the Nikkei 225 Average down as much as 11 percent and triggering a suspension of futures trading, as the deepening credit crisis stoked concern that more companies will fail. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 905.70, or 9.9 percent, to 8,251.79 as of 9:34 a.m. in Tokyo, the first time the benchmark fell below 9,000 since June 26, 2003.
Australian stocks plunged, set for their worst week since the 1987 market crash, as a credit freeze deepened, worsening the outlook for the global economy. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index slumped 255.30 points, or 5.9 percent, to 4,065.60 at 12:30 p.m., set for a 13 percent decline this week, the biggest rout in the index's history dating back to 1992.
U.S. stocks tumbled yesterday, wiping out almost $900 billion in market value, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing below 9,000 for the first time since 2003. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slid 7.6 percent to 909.92, capping a seven-day decline, the longest losing streak since 1996.
Canadian stocks resumed their decline, led by insurers and banks, on speculation yesterday's coordinated interest rate cuts by the world's biggest central banks won't be enough to revive lending. The Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index fell 3.7 percent to 9,684.16 at 3:27 p.m. in Toronto after climbing as much as 3.3 percent earlier.
European shares swung up and down wildly on Thursday before sinking to their lowest close since November 2003 as investors offloaded defensive utilities shares and hard-hit financial stocks. U.K. stocks rebounded in the early session, but after 3 p.m. FTSE 100 Index started to decling sharply and at 4 p.m. was down more than 1 percent. Earlier the index was up as much as 2 percent. German stocks followed the same path, at the close DAX was 2.53 percent lower.
China's benchmark stock index fell below 2,000 for the first time in three weeks, led by energy and steelmakers on concern a global economic slowdown will cut demand for their products. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares listed on China's two exchanges, retreated 27.58, or 1.4 percent, to 1,995.30 at the close, after earlier rising as much as 2 percent.
Russia's Micex Index rallied as much as 17 percent and emerging market stocks rose the most in three weeks as coordinated central bank rate cuts spurred investors to start buying shares at the cheapest valuations in a decade.