World stocks drop on widespread panic (Scramble for cash sparked)

By Kevin Plumberg
First Posted 10:50:00 10/10/2008

HONG KONG — Asia stocks dropped sharply on Friday, with Japan’s Nikkei plunging 11.0 percent, while the yen and gold rose on growing fears that no government effort so far has rejuvenated credit markets or kept the global economy from a path to recession.

The Nikkei share average plummeted in early trade, and the Osaka stock exchange had to halt trading after a circuit breaker was tripped.

Overnight Wall Street stocks crumbled in the final minutes of trade, with the S&P 500 falling 7.6 percent.

Selling in equity markets was brutally swift, taking the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks excluding Japan down 3.5 percent to the lowest since June 2005.

Government bond futures soared as the rapid decline in Asia stocks forced investors to buy the nearest safe haven despite fears of a supply glut that have recently weighed on US Treasuries.

“Equity and fixed income markets seem to be stuck in a negative feedback loop as the lack of interbank lending and funding and waning investor confidence keep pushing one another,” UBS currency strategists said in a note to clients.

The 10-year Japanese government bond future was up 0.4 point to 138.89 and the 10-year US Treasury note futures were up more than a full point

The US dollar fell to the lowest since March against the yen, at 98.55 yen

Spot gold prices were up 2.0 percent to $923.30 an ounce to the highest since July.

US crude oil futures fell about 3.0 percent to a fresh 12-month low in electronic trade on Friday on concerns the growing global financial crisis would send demand for fuel slumping.

By 0033 GMT, US crude for November delivery was at $83.99 a barrel, down $2.59 from Thursday’s settlement, having earlier fallen to as low as $83.81.



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