European stocks fell Thursday, giving up gains earlier in the day, amid persistent unease about the global economy and as U.S. stocks plunged in early trading. Major Asian markets retreated for a third day.
The U.K.'s benchmark FTSE 100 declined 1.1 percent to 6,105.2, while France's CAC 40 lost 1.9 percent to 5,409.15. Germany's DAX Index dropped 1.48 percent to 6,616.25.
Europe's major indexes had been higher after a rebound on Wall Street a day earlier and upbeat comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman.
But U.S. stocks resumed their plunge after the one-day reprieve as investors, nervous about the impending release of key economic data, took their cues from overseas markets. The Dow Jones industrials fell more 200 points to the 12,067 level in the opening minutes of trading.
"I think it's wholly psychological; nothing has actually changed," said Philip Manduca, managing partner at Titanium Capital in London. "The Chinese stock market is not an indicator of the Chinese economy. The Chinese economy is not an indicator of the world economy."
Still, a selloff could trigger more losses in Asia, said Yuji Nakagawa, head of derivatives at Toyo Securities in Tokyo.
Shares in Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia all retreated mildly, while the Shanghai market whose plunge Tuesday triggered a global sell-off fell another 2.9 percent.
But markets in the Philippines, New Zealand, India and Indonesia rebounded.
The losses underlined lingering worries about the outlook for the U.S. and global economy as well as overvalued stock prices. While analysts said the global jolt was most likely a correction to cool surging markets, some said market volatility could persist for months.
But Asia, the epicenter of the meltdown, is seen as especially vulnerable because its markets have surged in recent months and its export-oriented economies rely heavily on U.S. demand.
"Asia and Japan are highly dependent on the U.S. economy," said Shun Maruyama, an equity strategist with Credit Suisse in Tokyo. "Stocks need some more time to return to a rising trend."
On the region's biggest bourse, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the benchmark Nikkei 225 Index fell 0.9 percent to finish at 17,453.51 after being down by as much as 1.5 percent.
Hong Kong stocks fell 1.6 percent, while Malaysia's key index fell 1.3 percent. Australian shares shed 0.4 percent and Singapore closed down 0.4 percent. In Taiwan, which was closed Wednesday and missed the market selloff, the benchmark index plunged 2.8 percent.
On mainland China, stocks continued their roller-coaster ride, with the Shanghai Composite Index falling 2.9 percent to close at 2,797.19 on Thursday. The index had tumbled 8.8 percent Tuesday, sparking a global financial market sell-off, before rebounding nearly 4 percent Wednesday.
"Investors are becoming wary after the unexpected equity market turmoil earlier in the week, rendering the market particularly vulnerable to any news," said Zhang Yidong, an analyst at Industrial Securities in China, reports AP.
Troubles began Tuesday as investors unloaded Chinese shares to lock in profits amid speculation about a fresh round of austerity measures from Beijing to slow the nation's sizzling economy. The selling spread later spread to Europe and New York.
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