US stocks extended their losses last night, with the S&P 500 briefly falling more than 5 percent in the first session since Standard & Poor's cut America's top-tier AAA credit rating, with banks among the biggest drags. In noon trade, the Dow fell 380.39 points, or 3.32 per cent, to 11,051.58. The S&P 500 slid 51.74 points, or 4.31 per cent, to 1,147.11.
European shares touched their lowest level in nearly two years as Standard & Poor's move to downgrade US debt ignited concerns that the world's biggest economy could fall back into recession.
The FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of leading European shares closed 3.97 per cent lower at 936.29 points after hitting 935.83 – a two-year low.
Hong Kong shares finished lower for a fifth consecutive session, but trimmed losses after dropping more than 4 per cent at one stage, tracking a rally in European shares, which were buoyed by a European Central Bank (ECB) purchase of Italian and Spanish bonds. The Hang Seng Index finished down 2.17 per cent at 20,490.57.
Japan's Nikkei stock average slid more than 2 per cent as weak sentiment over S&P's decision to downgrade the US credit rating was exacerbated by futures selling after Asian markets tumbled. The benchmark Nikkei closed down 2.2 per cent at 9,097.56 after dropping as low as 9,057.29. The broader Topix fell 2.3 per cent to 782.86.Reuse content