Asian stocks nosedived today as market fears triggered by the US subprime mortgage crisis rippled across the globe. The steepest drop in 5 months echoed upheaval spreading outward from Wall Street, with Toyota and Samsung leading a retreat by large exporters hurt by fears that the lending catastrophe and resultant tighter credit will curtail growth.
The Nikkei was down 4.2% and the Hang Seng 4.8%—indexes were off in Europe as well. Financial companies especially skidded on fallout from BNP Paribas' move and the Dow's enormous slide. "The old saying in the investment world that 'cash is king' came about because of days like today," said a fund manager. With liquidity concerns mounting, one analyst told Reuters, "What we have at the moment is just an all-round sense of panic."