Friday, October 10, 2008

Markets in America, Asia and Europe in ~~~~~~~~~~freefall~~~~~~~~~~~~

The markets

Off a cliff

The Economist

Oct 10th 2008 | NEW YORK, TOKYO

Markets in America, Asia and Europe plummet, as fears grow over financial and economic conditions


MARKETS in Asia and Europe plummeted on Friday October 10th. Japan’s stockmarket ended the week in disarray: the Nikkei 225-share index fell by 24% on the week, twice the weekly fall of the 1987 crash. It is now at five-and-a-half-year lows. Europe followed suit. London’s FTSE 100 slumped by more than 10% within minutes of opening; by mid-morning European stocks were also down, with Germany's DAX index down by more than 8%. Amid widespread anxiety the oil price also tumbled, to around $81 a barrel, its lowest level in a year.

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The falls underline that stockmarkets, traumatised by the near-paralysis in credit markets, the collapse of once-mighty banks and the prospect of global recession, are suffering what has been dubbed a “cascading crash”: a series of blows which, added together, are stomach-churning.

Wall Street is unimpressed by the TARP, America’s much-vaunted $700-billion bail-out. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had plunged by 679 points, or 7.3% on Thursday. Nor are markets reassured by a bevy of bank rescues, a co-ordinated rate cut by the world’s leading central banks, the Federal Reserve’s radical decision to buy commercial paper, Britain’s £500 billion ($861 billion) bail-out package, nor the raft of piecemeal rescues by other European governments. On Thursday the International Monetary Fund activated a procedure to offer emergency loans to threatened countries, such as Iceland, which took over its largest bank on Thursday.

In Asia, which had been relatively insulated from recent woes, panic selling set in, as markets slumped in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, among others. Indonesia's fell by 10.4% on Wednesday before regulators suspended trading. (Equity trading was also suspended in several European exchanges, including those of Russia, Austria and Iceland.


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