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Markets Nosedive on Grim Economic News

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Friday, Oct 24, 2008

Japan led a global stock market rout Friday that saw U.S. stock index futures tumble so sharply they had to be frozen, and news that Britain’s economy contracted in the third quarter deepened fears of a worldwide recession.

Mounting evidence of a downturn, born of the worst financial crisis in 80 years, also prompted extreme currency volatility.

The yen rocketed to multiyear highs against the dollar and euro, with the euro/yen rate down a staggering 10 percent at one point.

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Britain’s economy shrunk 0.5 percent in the third quarter and euro zone figures showed the 15-nation currency bloc was already in recession, analysts said.

Stock markets were in freefall around the world as panicked investors moved to liquidate risky positions.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

Japan’s Nikkei index ended down 9.6 percent and European shares dropped 8 percent.

In New York December Dow Jones futures were down 6.3 percent, Standard & Poor’s 500 futures were off 6.6 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures were down 6.8 percent.

All three contracts lost the maximum amount permissible before the start of futures trading in the United States.

Both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq said trading would open as normal at 9:30 a.m. (2:30 pm London time).

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This article was posted: Friday, October 24, 2008 at 10:00 am

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