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Nikkei slide continues global sell-off

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Dow plummets on European debt fears
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW The Nikkei-225 Index in Tokyo closed 3.1 percent lower on Friday
  • NEW The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed down nearly 2 percent
  • The Bank of Japan vowed to pump $21.6 billion in the market to maintain liquidity
  • The Nikkei-225 Index dropped more than 400 points in early trading Friday
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) -- The Nikkei-225 Index in Tokyo closed 3.1 percent lower on Friday as the global sell-off -- sparked by the debt crisis in Greece and a wild session on Wall Street -- continued to roll with the sun across the financial world.

The Nikkei was down as much as 4 percent in early trading Friday after sliding 3.3 percent the previous day of trade, prompting the Bank of Japan to pump $21.6 billion into the market to boost liquidity.

Indexes across Asia traded down. The Hang Sang Index in Hong Kong closed below 20,000 for the first time since February 19, closing down just over 1 percent at 19,915. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney closed down nearly 2 percent.

Bank of Japan pumps funds into market

Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama expressed concern for the market's two-day drop, which reflected fears the Greece debt crisis will spread to other European nations. A spokesperson with Japan's central bank said the aim of the $21.6 billion cash infusion was "to increase a sense of security in the markets by providing ample funds."

Athens mayhem hits Tokyo markets

Yoshito Sengoku, Japan's Minister in Charge of National Policy spoke to reporters Friday morning in Tokyo, saying that the Greece crisis will have a "limited impact on Asian economies."

But Kirby Daley, senior strategist at Newedge Group in Hong Kong, believes that the market reaction to the Greece crisis is not a limited, knee-jerk reaction.

"The drops will not likely be as violent as post-Lehman, but risk aversion is setting in for the long-term, as markets over-celebrated unsustainable stimulus. We may see some relief rallies, but the overall trend should now be firmly down for stocks," said Daley.

The Asian sell-off continues the jitters felt in U.S. markets, punctuated by a 1000-point drop on the Dow Jones Industrial Average that is attributed to a trading glitch.

'Crash of 2.45' paralyzes Wall Street

"On the Dow, we were down 400 to 800 points in five minutes, it was horrifying," Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co., told CNNMoney.

The Dow ended trading down 348 points; Nasdaq finished down 3.49 percent while the S&P 500 fell 3.24 percent.

A report by Moody's on Thursday warned that banks across Europe face a "common threat" of investor flight from government debt markets, CNNMoney reports

Debt dread comes to European banks

The rating agency said the banking systems in six financially stressed European nations -- Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain and the United Kingdom -- face individual challenges arising from deep recessions, funding shortfalls, and fiscal pullbacks in their home countries.

Don't fear the VIX

The CBOE Volatility (VIX) index, Wall Street's so-called fear gauge, closed at 34.16, its highest finish since May 4, 2009. Earlier, it had spiked as high as 40.71, a 62% jump and its biggest one-day surge since February 2007.

CNN's Kyung Lah and Kevin Voigt, and CNNMoney's Colin Barr and Alexandra Twin contributed to this report