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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Asian markets tumble after share sell-off in the US

Nikkei 225 one month chart

Asian markets have been hammered amid fears that the US is heading for a recession and after Wall Street posted the biggest losses since late 2008.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 3.7%, South Korea's Kospi lost 5%, and Australia's ASX shed 3.8%.

Earlier in the US, the Dow Jones stock index dropped 5.6%, despite US President Barack Obama trying to reassure investors.

A US recession would hurt Asia's export-led economies.

"You can't control it," Peter Esho, chief market analyst at City Index, told the BBC.

"You have the onset of fear in the market. There are a lot of things that don't make sense."Rocking market

Analysts said a number of issues had created the current market pessimism.

At the heart of the problem is the fear that ongoing debt problems in the US and Europe will slow economic growth and dent corporate profits.

On top of that, the US had its triple A credit rating cut by Standard and Poor's for the first time in history, added to the sense of gloom surrounding the world's biggest economy.

"What's rocking the market is a growth scare," said Kathleen Gaffney of Loomis Sayles.

She said investors were concerned about "how Europe and the US are going to work their way out of a high debt burden" if the global economy slowed.

Rajiv Biswas of IHS Global Insight told the BBC that investors were worried that given the issues with the US credit rating downgrade there will be a drop in government spending.

"That will be a a big drag on growth," he said.Historic moves

City Index's Mr Esho added that a combination of these fears has dented market sentiment, and prompted investors to dump stocks across all industries in the US.

The S&P 500 index was down 6.7% in New York on Monday, the worst drop since December 2008, with every listed stock falling.

In points terms, the Dow ended down 635 to 10,810, its biggest one-day decline since October 2008, and the sixth largest on record. The Nasdaq index fell even further, losing 6.9%.

Earlier in the UK, the main FTSE 100 index lost 3.4%, or 178 points. It was the first time in the FTSE 100's 27-year history that it had fallen by more than 100 points for four sessions in a row.

Share indexes also fell heavily across Europe on Monday, with Germany's Dax ending down 5%, while France's Cac lost 4.7%.

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