The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange opened with sharp drops Thursday morning, mirroring world markets as more signs of a sharp downturn in the US economy spurred investors to dump shares of exporters like Sony and resource companies like BHP Billiton. As trade was closing near 5:00 p.m., the Tel Aviv 25 Index had dropped 4.34 percentage points to 688.43 and the Tel Aviv 100 was down 4.73% to 600.70. The Tel-Tech was down 5.53%% to 132.81. The US dollar rose 1.34 percent against the shekel, buying 3.92 shekels to the dollar. The euro was up 0.57%, buying 4.92 shekels. Investors in Asia also reacted nervously to US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's announcement that the government's $700 billion financial rescue package won't purchase troubled assets from banks as originally planned. The Treasury will instead rely on buying stakes in banks and encouraging them to resume more normal lending. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average fell 456.87 points, or 5.3 percent, to 8,238.64 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dived 5.2 percent to 13,221.35. Australia's benchmark index slid 5.9 percent to a four-year closing low of 3,697.3 as banks tumbled and lower commodity prices hit miners. BHP Billiton Ltd., the world's biggest miner, sank almost 12 percent and Rio Tinto was down more than 8 percent. Russian stocks also posted sharp losses on fears the country's economy is being hit particularly hard by the global financial crisis and the continued fall in crude oil prices. The MICEX, where most of Russia's trading takes places, lost 10 percent in the first 30 minutes after opening, down to 583 points. The other main exchange, RTS, slipped 4.2 percent to 608.2 points.