Global stock selloff

Markets fall on fears about world crisis - expectations mount for response.

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A shocking series of events that forever changed the financial markets.

NEW YORK ( -- Global fears about the financial crisis deepened on Friday as stock markets the world over fell sharply and government officials scrambled to contain the damage.

Expectations for a coordinated response grew while the world's finance ministers and central bankers prepared to meet this weekend in Washington. President Bush is expected to make a statement about the financial crisis shortly after 10 a.m.

In the United States, stock futures were trading sharply lower - a sign that investors are bracing for a rough time at the opening bell.

European markets got off to a terrible start. Within the first 10 minutes of trading, London's FTSE, the CAC in Paris and the XETRA DAX in Frankfurt, Germany, had all sloughed off about 10% of their values.

European markets recovered some, but all were down generally 6% to 10% by late morning.

Russia's volatile stock markets were closed on Friday. Government financial officials suspended them before trading was scheduled to open, according to the Russian Trading System. The markets will remain closed until further notice.

One economist said the markets are nearing their bottom. "We are getting mighty close," according to Tom Hougaard with City Index in London. "I have no doubt that with in the next 48 to 72 hours, we will find a low."

Asian markets ended lower. The Nikkei Exchange in Japan closed down 9.6%.

Meanwhile, the Australian All Ordinaries index closed more than 8% lower and South Korea's KOSPI index finished the day off 4.3%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down about 8% in afternoon trading and Mumbai's BSE SENSEX was down 7.4%.

The losses brought more attempts by government officials to reverse the tide.

The Bank of Japan injected $45 billion into financial markets - the largest single-day amount in history - and India's central bank made $8.2 billion available.

Three European central banks offered $120 billion in overnight cash to markets, in an effort to keep a strained financial system flush with cash, the Associated Press reported. The European Central Bank offered $100 billion, the Bank of England $10 billion and the Swiss National Bank $10 billion.

A day earlier, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority cut its key interest rate by half a percent - its second such recent move.

On Wednesday, the British government said it would make available $87 billion to the nation's eight largest banks in an effort to shore-up their capital positions. In return for the infusion of capital the British government will receive preferred shares of those banks.

Iceland seized control of its three largest banks. Officials with the Italian government have said they are looking at their own bank rescue plan similar to the British efforts.

In the United States, where the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department have already taken numerous steps in recent days, speculation grew that the government might take even more dramatic action like making direct capital investments in banks.

The selloff followed another brutal day on Wall Street on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 679 points - or 7.3%. The Dow, Standard & Poor's 500 and Nasdaq all closed at five-year lows.

Over the last seven sessions, the Dow has lost 2,271 points, or 20.1%. Since hitting an all-time high of 14,164.53 one year ago Thursday, the Dow has lost 39.4%.

The CNN Wire reports were used in compiling this article. To top of page

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