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Tuesday, August 11, 1998 Published at 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK

Business: The Economy

Turbulent Tuesday on world markets

Anxious traders on the London Stock Exchange

Stock markets around the world fell sharply on Tuesday as concerns about the impact of the Asian financial crisis escalated.

Tens of billions of dollars have been wiped off the value of shares as dealers in New York, London and across Europe rushed to sell stocks.

The US stock market's main barometer, the Dow Jones had lost up to 255 points during the day but regained some ground during the last hours of trading.

It ended the session 112 points down at 8,462.85.

The Dow now sits nearly 900 points below the record of 9,337.97 set less than a month ago on July 17 - a correction of almost 10%.

[ image: Russian traders faced another testing day]
Russian traders faced another testing day
Michael Metz, Oppenheimer & Co chief equities strategist said: "I don't think we've seen the bottom. I think we will go lower.

"I think there are two basic problems with the market. One, of course, is that people still underestimate the consequences of Asia on corporate profits in America.

"Secondly, we have a structural problem, with the market participants very light on cash and excessively exposed on the market place."

Byron Wien, market strategist at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter was more upbeat.

He said: "We're definitely not in a bear market in my opinion. I think this is an important correction."

The electronically traded NASDAQ index, which lists high-technology stocks, also fell 46.51 points on Tuesday to 1,792.70.

The number of falling shares vastly outnumbered advances.

London battered

In London, the FTSE 100 Index of leading shares plunged to a seven-month low and recorded its biggest points fall of the year, with more than £20bn wiped off the value of Britain's leading companies.

Jeremy Hawkins, Bank of America, on fall in markets
The FTSE 100 ended 154.8 points or 2.8% down at 5,432.8, having at one stage been as low as 5,403.3.

Only three weeks ago the FTSE stood at a high of 6,178.9 points.

And the Russian market was suspended again today after falling by another 11% - it had fallen by nearly as much on Monday amid worries about the country's economic recovery.

When trading resumed, the RTS index recovered slightly to close down just over 9%, at 109.90. But it is still trading at a two-year low.

[ image: Frankfurt stock exchange also suffered]
Frankfurt stock exchange also suffered
Falls swept across Europe, with indexes in France down by 2.4% and in Germany the DAX was down 208 points, or 3.4%.

As stocks plummeted around the world, investors fled to the currency and government loan markets, which pushed up the value of gilts.

The one bright spot was oil stocks, as BP gained 25p to 795p on news it was to merge with US rival Amoco to create a $110bn energy giant which will become Britain's largest company.

But even the reaction to this deal was muted, with the shares falling off early highs towards the end of trading.

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