ABB, the world's largest builder of electricity grids, dropped 14 percent. Daimler slumped 7.3 percent as the world's second-biggest maker of luxury cars suspended its share buyback program. BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group sank more than 10 percent as copper tumbled below $4,000 a ton.
Europe's Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index lost 2.5 percent to 204.35 at 12:25 p.m. in London, reversing an earlier gain of as much as 1.2 percent. The index has plunged 44 percent in 2008 as credit-related losses and writedowns topped $650 billion in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
U.K. stocks failed to hold gains on Thursday, as worries about the extent and depth of the likely world recession intensified, hitting mining stocks the hardest. The FTSE 100 fell 99 points to 3,941.9, a decline of 2.4 per cent coming after losses of 189 points on Wednesday.
German stocks declined for a third day on concern the cooling economy is curbing profits, with Metro AG slumping the most in at least 12 years after Societe Generale SA downgraded the country's largest retailer. The benchmark DAX Index declined 129.32, or 2.8 percent, to 4,441.75 as of 12:18 p.m. in Frankfurt.
Japan stocks tumbled a second day as the slowing global economy dragged on export growth, and the yen jumped to a six-year high against the euro. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average sank 213.71, or 2.5 percent, to close at 8,460.98 in Tokyo.
Australian stocks fell after commodity prices tumbled to a four-year low, led by declines in oil, copper and grains, on increased speculation a global economic slowdown will reduce demand for raw materials. The S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 181.70 points, or 4.4 percent, to 3,974.40 at the close in Sydney, extending yesterday's 3.4 percent loss.
China's benchmark stock index rose for the first time in three days, led by developers after the government announced measures to bolster the property market. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated stocks traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen, added 1.46, or 0.1 percent, in the last 15 minutes of trading to 1,834.78 at the close.
Russian stocks tumbled, erasing gains for this week, led by OAO Sberbank after the country's debt risk soared and its reserves fell for a third straight week. The ruble-denominated Micex Index sank 5.7 percent to 592.63 at 3 p.m. in Moscow, the lowest since May 2005, after climbing to a close of 652.51 on Oct. 21.