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Asia, Pacific markets tumble in opening

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: KOSPI falls 2 percent, Australia's exchange drops three percent
  • Dow Jones closes below 10,000 for first time in four years
  • Major European markets close at least 7 percent down
  • Brazil stocks lose 15 percent; Argentina's market down 11 percent
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(CNN) -- Japan's Nikkei dropped more than 5 percent, falling below the 10,000 mark in early trading Tuesday, as Asian and Pacific markets responded to Wall Street's drop below the same mark on Monday.

The Korea Exchange fell more than 2 percent, and the Australian Securities Exchange dropped nearly 3 percent.

In the United States, the Dow Jones industrials plunged by as much as 800 points, falling below 10,000 for the first time since October 2004.

The most influential European markets also suffered big losses, as the credit crisis tightened its grip on banks and other financial institutions. London's FTSE 100 ended down 7.9 percent, the biggest one-day fall since 1987; the CAC 40 in Paris skidded 9 percent, and the XETRA DAX in Frankfurt tumbled 7.1 percent.

The declines were led by the banking industry, with the mining and oil sectors also suffering.

Russia's RTS index fared worse, shutting down after falling more than 20 percent. The index lost 9 percent of its value in the first 30 minutes of the trading day. Video Watch how falling oil is hitting Russia »

Iceland halted trading in six bank stocks Monday. Icelandic banks' assets dwarf the rest of its economy and its currency has fallen sharply in the past week. The government rushed to draft a plan to deal with the financial turmoil's impact on its over-leveraged banking sector.

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Earlier Monday, Asian and Pacific markets ended roundly lower. The Nikkei closed down 465.05 points, or 4.25 percent, at 10,473.09, a 4-1/2 year low. South Korea's KOSPI index finished the day off 4.3 percent.

The Australian Securities Exchange plunged about 3.4 percent to 4,544.70, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost nearly 5 percent of its value, falling to 16,803.76. Video Watch how Asia fears a battering »

In Brazil, stocks lost up to 15 percent. Argentina's Merval Index of the Bolsa de Comercio de Buenos Aires tumbled more than 11 percent, driven principally by stocks linked to petroleum industry companies Tenaris and Petrobras.

The slides Monday come amid days of unrelenting financial turmoil and despite the passage by U.S. lawmakers of a $700 billion bailout plan late Friday.

"What we thought was going to be a contained domestic (U.S.) problem is definitely global," William Larkin, portfolio manager at Cabot Money Management, told CNNMoney. "It is now rooted in Europe, and it looks like it is probably spreading to Asia."

The slump followed a weekend in which Germany's private financial sector promised to put up an additional €15 billion ($20.3 billion), in addition to the €35 billion already pledged, to help shore up Hypo Real Estate bank, the nation's Finance Ministry said Sunday.

In France, BNP Paribas committed to taking a 75 percent stake in troubled European bank Fortis NV, and Sweden and Denmark followed Ireland and Britain in raising the amount of savers' deposits guaranteed by the government.

Britain's treasury chief Alistair Darling said he was "ready to do whatever it takes" to get the country through the credit crunch, and was looking at a "range of proposals," The Associated Press reported.


European Union finance ministers were to meet in Luxembourg Monday and Tuesday to discuss ways to boost the battered banking system.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is pushing a bailout similar to the one passed by the U.S. Congress last week and signed by President Bush on Friday.

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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