Updated at 10:45 a.m.
Wall Street began Monday morning in a free-fall, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) declining by over 550 points in its first hour-and-a-half after of trading. The market fell by another 150 points in the amount of time it took to write this paragraph. The decline brought the DJIA below the 10,000 mark for the first time in four years, since October 2004.
Stock markets in Asia plunged overnight on fears that a global financial crisis is quickly developing.
Coming on the heels of a $700 billion bank bailout approved on Friday in the U.S., Germany announced a $70 billion bailout of the country's second largest commercial property lender. British officials also announced its government's intention to take big steps to face off the credit crisis.
The $700 billion U.S. rescue-bailout plan includes an increase in government bank deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000. Sweden announced it will double its government guarantee of depositor's accounts from about $35,000 to $70,000.
Leaders from Britain, France, Germany, and Italy met over the weekend but failed to agree on an overall plan to deal with the crisis.
Tokyo's stock market (Nikkei 225 index) 4.25 percent to its lowest level in over 4 years and Hong Kong's stock market (Hang Seng index) fell 4.3 percent. Stock markets in China, South Korea, India, Australia, Thailand and Singapore also fell sharply.
Russia's RTS stock index fell by more than 7 percent after trading opened and later halted trading. Brazil also halted trading.
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