Thailand Asian markets plunged today after a steep drop on Wall Street overnight fanned investors' fears the U.S. economy was sliding into a recession that would sap demand for Asian exports.
In Hong Kong, the benchmark index plunged more than 6 percent in morning trading, while Japan's Nikkei 225 index sank more than 4 percent.
"It's unbridled pessimism," said Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. "Everyone is concentrating on U.S. recession, but Europe is also looking bad. ... We are in for a bear market now."
Economic data Tuesday showing the U.S. service sector shrank last month for the first time since March 2003 wiped out nascent optimism about the American economy that had lifted global markets last week.
The news sent the Dow Jones industrial average plunging 370 points, or 2.93 percent, its largest one-day percentage drop since Feb. 27, 2007.