FOOTSIE SLUMPED to its lowest since June last year, crashing 101.7 points to 4,648.7. More nervousness in Japan and a weak New York display overshadowed Group of Seven declarations and hopes of an interest rate cut this week.
Supporting shares were also in the dumps with the mid and small cap indices suffering savage falls. Still, sterling's fall produced some comfort for exporters with British Aerospace, up 20p to 332p, and General Electric Co., 17.5p firmer at 417.5p, heading the Footsie leader board.
STOCKS FELL in early trading amid disappointment that world leaders had failed to come up with hard proposals to tackle global turmoil.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 206.23 to 7578.46, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 34.56 to 967.71. The Nasdaq Composite index, which is dominated by computer companies, dropped 99.72 to 1515.26.
Traders said the debate over President Clinton's impeachment was also causing jitters.
THE NIKKEI 225 index fell 275.57 points, or 2.08 per cent, to 12,948.12, its lowest in almost 13 years, after a weekend meeting by Group of Seven finance officials produced no specific measures to bolster the weakening global economy.
The broader Topix index of all shares on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange fell below 1000 for the first time since November 1985, dropping 1.71 per cent to 996.69. Shares in Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, the world's largest phone company, fell to their lowest since April 1997.
SHARES closed a roller-coaster session lower as a weak start on Wall Street and profit-taking put pressure on prices.
The market, which initially fell on a weaker dollar and losses in Asia, recovered as stronger financial stocks and technical buying improved sentiment, but then fell again at the close.
Swisscom ended its first day on the Swiss bourse at 376.50 Swiss francs after hitting a high of Sfr395 and a low of Sfr347.5. The issue price for the telecoms stock was set on Sunday at Sfr340.
INDICATIONS OF a narrow poll win for President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and rising expectations of a new IMF bail-out package failed to help nervous markets as Brazil's leading Bovespa index fell 5.25 per cent to 6,073 in early trade.
Traders said the new government will have to produce a credible fiscal reform package within weeks to stem the dollar outflow. "The stakes are very high - it's not just a matter for Brazil, it's a matter for the world financial system and the world economy," said Peter West of BBV Securities.