European Markets Plunge at Open German, French indexes drop more than 3%; Asian stocks down at close By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Aug 19, 2011 5:15 AM CDT 0 comments Comments A trader looks at a graph displaying activity on the French Stock Exchange in Paris earlier this week. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) (Newser) – European stock markets opened markedly lower today over continued misgivings about the situation in the US and Europe, the New York Times reports. Germany’s main index fell 3.9% this morning, while France’s fell 3.4%—on the heels of yesterday's 5% drop; Britain’s benchmark index was down 2.8%. Meanwhile, Asian stocks tumbled, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 closing down 2.5%, South Korea’s Kospi falling 6.2%, and Tawain’s Taiex dropping 3.6%. In Australia, the market closed down 3.5%. Though the debt ceiling debate and economic issues worldwide have played a role in the markets’ decline, “the single most important contributor has been the intensification of the euro area fiscal crisis, from a peripheral issue to an increasingly core issue,” wrote Barclays analysts in a research note released today.