Asian markets plummeted as optimism over the stabilisation of money markets faded. By the end of trading, Japan's Nikkei index had shed 11.41 percent - its second lowest plunge in history - and Seoul was down 8.07 percent.
Tokyo's Nikkei stock index plunged more than 11 percent Thursday, the biggest loss in two decades, as growing fears of a global recession hammered world markets.
The benchmark index lost 1,089.02 points, or 11.41 percent, to end at 8,458.45, wiping out most of its gains earlier in the week.
It was the Nikkei's second-largest percentage loss ever and the steepest fall since the "Black Monday" crash in October 1987.
The rout came after Wall Street suffered its worst percentage drop in two decades and its second-largest points loss in history overnight.
After such a brutal US selloff, it was "inevitable" that Japanese stocks would slide, said Hiroaki Hiwata, a stock market strategist at Toyo Securities.
Wall Street's Dow Jones index sank 7.87 percent Wednesday after US retail sales fell much more than expected and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said a recovery from the financial crisis "will not happen right away."
"The key to the outlook is whether investors focus on the financial strength of some Japanese companies rather than on external factors," Hiwata said.
Japan's central bank pumped 600 billion yen (6.0 billion dollars) into the short-term money market to try to keep credit flowing.
Most analysts now say that a US recession appears virtually certain as a crippling credit crunch and housing meltdown drags down the rest of the economy despite a 700-billion-dollar banking sector rescue plan.
Date created : 2008-10-16