European stock markets have followed their Asian collegues down this morning, trading on average four percent lower as worries about the world financial crisis deepened. Bank stocks drove the falls: despite a rescue plan for Germany’s Hypo-Real Estate mortgage lender, its shares slumped 48 percent in early trading.
London’s Eurofirst 300 index fell more than four percent, and was down more than 30 percent so far this year. Analysts welcomed President Bush’s bail-out plan, but voiced worry that it might not be enough to stave off recession in the United States.
Europe’s performance followed sharp falls overnight in Asia. Tokyo closed down four-and-a-quarter percent, to its lowest level for nearly five years.
And, in an indication of falling economic activity, the price of US light sweet crude fell below 90 dollars a barrel.