Asian markets tumble amid fears of European debt crisis

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
May 21, 2010 10:51

 
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SINGAPORE — Asian markets tumbled Friday, following a brutal day on Wall Street where stocks took their deepest dive in more than a year.

The wave of selling came amid growing fears that Europe's debt crisis could spread around the world. An unexpected increase in U.S. jobless claims added to the pessimism.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average shed 258.69 points, or 2.6 percent, to 9,771.62, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.5 percent at 4,297.00. Indonesia's benchmark stock index plunged 4 percent, Singapore fell 2.2 percent and India slid 1.3 percent.

Hong Kong and South Korean stock exchanges were closed for a public holiday. Trading in Thailand has been suspended due to political turmoil.

Investors fear debt problems in countries like Greece and Portugal will spill over to other countries in Europe. That could then trigger a cascade of losses for big banks and in turn halt economic recovery in the U.S. and elsewhere.

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