BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group, two of the world's three largest mining companies, plunged the most since 1987 in Sydney as commodities prices fell. Sony Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. lost more than 7 percent as U.S. consumer purchases dropped for a third month. Woori Finance Holdings Co. slumped 9.3 percent after Standard & Poor's said the bank is among seven South Korean financial companies that may have their ratings cut.
Japanese stocks plunged as a drop in U.S. retail sales pointed to a deepening recession and Prime Minister Taro Aso reinforced concern a bank bailout will fail to stem a rout in global markets. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 10 percent to 8,591.59. The decline caused trading in Nikkei futures to be temporarily halted.
The Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 271 points, or 6.3 percent, to 4,028.
Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures fell 1.2 percent. Treasuries were little changed and the Japanese yen climbed toward a seven-month high against the dollar.
Yesterday, U.S. stocks plunged the most since the crash of 1987, hammered by the biggest drop in retail sales in three years and growing doubt that plans to bail out banks will keep the nation out of a recession.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index sank 90.17 points, or 9 percent, to 907.84, with nine companies declining more than 20 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 733.08, or 7.9 percent, to 8,577.91, its second-biggest point drop ever. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 150.68, or 8.5 percent, to 1,628.33. About 37 stocks fell for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.
Canadian stocks retreated from their biggest gain in 32 years, led by commodity and financial companies, on speculation global bank bailouts won't be enough to prop up economic growth and demand for raw materials. The Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index dropped 6.4 percent to 9,323.83 in Toronto after jumping 9.8 percent on Tuesday.
Brazilian stocks dropped, halting their biggest rally this decade, on concern slowing global growth will hurt demand for raw materials and reduce the earnings of the nation's biggest commodity producers. The Bovespa slid 13.74 percent to 35,858.61. The index gained 17 percent this week through yesterday.
European stocks fell for the first time in three days after U.S. retail sales tumbled and U.K. unemployment climbed to the highest in almost two years, heightening concern economies are slipping into recession.
National benchmark indexes slid in all 18 western European markets. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 7.2 percent as Rio Tinto Group retreated. France's CAC 40 decreased 6.8 percent, led by Total SA as crude oil dropped below $75 a barrel. Germany's DAX declined 6.5 percent as Siemens AG tumbled.