Overseas Markets, U.S. Futures Take Massive Hit

Includes: DIA, EFA, SPY
by: SA Eli Hoffmann


Asian markets took a second straight thrashing Tuesday, as many indices took their worst one-day plunge since 9/11.

Nikkei: -5.65%. It has fallen over 9% over the past two days. "It's like a funeral in here," one broker said. "No one knows what is going to happen tonight in New York. It's like we've gone blind -- you don't know what's coming. Until we see New York, all we can do is sell."

Hang Seng: -8.65%. Hong Kong is down more than 14% over the past two days. "Markets have broken all technical levels," ABN Amro analyst Mun Hon said.

Shanghai: -7.22%, after a 5% drop on Monday.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200: -7.1%, its 12th straight down day.

In India, trading was halted for an hour after the Sensex fell 11.5% in early trading, bringing Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to call for calm. "The bears are now in control," one money manager said, "All good things must come to an end." The Sensex took Tuesday its worst drop in 20 years.


As of 5:33 AM ET

European markets plunged in early trading, but bounced off lows and made new intraday highs as talks of international interest rate cuts swirled. "Theres's rumors about concerted rate cuts... they're talking about the Fed, the ECB, the Bank of England and the SNB all cutting rates," a trader said. Rumors were of a U.S. Fed rate cut of between 75 and 100 basis points.

FTSE: -0.13%. On Monday, the London index fell 5.5%.

Dax: -1.94%. It fell 7.2% yesterday.

CAC: -0.87%. It dropped 6.8% on Monday.

"This is like a panic. It's like out, out, out. Run for cover," a Frankfurt trader said.

U.S. Futures

U.S. futures are down massively from Friday's close. Markets were closed Monday in honor of Martin Luther King day.

S&P 500: -69 points (-5.2%)

Nasdaq: -95 points (-5.1%)

Dow: -550 points (-4.6%)

While market action is reminiscent of the crash of 1987, one analyst noted the Dow would have to lose more than 2,700 points to match that year's 22% loss.

Note that earlier this morning (approx. 3 AM ET) U.S. equity futures seemingly ceased trading even as European markets continued to plunge. It is not clear whether this was an intentional halt of trading, a trigger of a negative threshold, or a technical glitch.