Sharp declines recorded in trade early Tuesday morning were curbed later in the day as the Tel Aviv stock market responded to the nose dive taken by global stock markets, amid fears that a possible US recession will cause a worldwide economic slowdown. The TA 25 was down 1.83 percent to 1096.71 points, the TA 100 index was at 1025.58, a 1.93 percent decline, and the Tel-Tec was depreciating by 1.84 percent to 283.77 points. The dramatic declines in Asia and Europe were expected to spread to Wall Street, where stock index futures were already down sharply, hours before the trading day began. Japan's Nikkei 225 index nose-dived 5.7 percent - its biggest percentage drop in nearly 10 years - to 12,573.05. Australia's benchmark index sank 7.1 percent, its steepest slide in nearly 20 years. Hong Kong's Hang Seng market was down 8.2 percent in afternoon trading. In China, the Shanghai Composite index lost 7.2 percent to its lowest level since August. Investors across the region dumped shares in frantic trading due to worries that the US economy, battered by a credit crisis and housing slump, will shrink in coming months, weakening demand for Asian exports. Markets have been plunging amid pessimism about the ability of American authorities to prevent a recession. The Federal Reserve has indicated it will lower interest rates further, and US President George W. Bush has proposed an economic stimulus package that includes US$145 billion in tax cuts, but investors around the world are doubtful that these measures will have a significant effect on the economy quickly. "Unless we get some positive 'shock effects,' such as drastic measures from the US government, there is almost no hope for a recovery in stocks," said Koji Takeuchi, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo.