Stocks fell sharply worldwide Monday following declines on Wall Street last week amid investor pessimism over the U.S. government's stimulus plan to prevent a recession.Tomorrow may very well be Black Tuesday. My 401K definitely took a hit today.
U.S. markets were closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but the downbeat mood from last week's market declines there circled through Europe, Asia and the Americas. Britain's benchmark FTSE-100 slumped 5.5 percent to 5,578.20, France's CAC-40 Index tumbled 6.8 percent to 4,744.15, and Germany's blue-chip DAX 30 plunged 7.2 percent to 6,790.19.
In Asia, India's benchmark stock index tumbled 7.4 percent, while Hong Kong's blue-chip Hang Seng index plummeted 5.5 percent to 23,818.86, its biggest percentage drop since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Canadian stocks fell as well, with the S&P/TSX composite index on the Toronto Stock Exchange down 4 percent in early afternoon trading. In Brazil, stocks plunged 6.9 percent on the main index of Sao Paulo's Bovespa exchange.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slid 3.9 percent to close at 13,325.94 points, its lowest close in more than two years. China's Shanghai Composite index plunged 5.1 percent, partly on worries about mainland Chinese banks' exposure to risky U.S. mortgage investments.