Asia Stocks Plunge
Markets down on US unemployment, Europe debt
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2010 3:42 AM CDT
An electronic board shows share index at a bank in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, today as markets plunged.   (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

(Newser) – Following a dismal day on Wall Street, Asian markets fell sharply today on news of an unexpectedly high US unemployment rate and worries about the growing debt crisis in Europe. The MCSI Asia Pacific Index was down 1.6 percent at 111.79, a 9-month low. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average sank 2.5 percent, as did Taiwan's Taiex, Bloomberg reports. Oil also sank and bond risk surged.

The euro rallied from a 4-year low on speculation that Brussels will act to shore up the currency. “A combination of events has made investors reassess the outlook for the global economy,” an analyst warned. With the US moving to tighten financial regulation and Germany cracking down on speculation, this month is shaping up to show the biggest monthly decline in global equities since October 2008.