Global Stocks Dropping Amid Rising Fears of Economy

Posted August 19th, 2011 at 6:25 am (UTC-5)
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Markets across Asia and Europe are witnessing another day of massive losses Friday, as fears grow over the European debt crisis and the struggling U.S. economy.

Japan's Nikkei index lost just over two-and-a-half percent at the closing bell, while the Kospi index in Seoul plunged over six percent by the end of its trading session. Indexes in Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore and Taiwan all closed more than three percent below Thursday's close.

Europe's main indexes lost at least two percent by midday Friday.

The sell-off in Asia and Europe continues Thursday's giant losses on Wall Street. The benchmark Dow Jones, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes all declined between four and five percent. Investors are worried about forecasts of lower economic growth in the United States, including reports about rising inflation and layoffs, plus continuing worries about the European debt crisis.

Oil prices are also retreating because investors expect lower economic growth will cut the demand and price for energy. Oil prices for September delivery dropped to just over $81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for October fell to $106 a barrel.

Another reflection of investor concern is shown by new record high prices for gold which is traditionally seen as a safe haven for investor's money in troubled times.

Investors seeking safety also bought up U.S. treasury bonds. As more investors bought up the U.S. debt, Washington was able to offer lower interest rates for the use of the money. Interest rates on some kinds of U.S. debt fell to record lows.