Asia's markets took a huge hit today amid fears of a US financial meltdown, the Wall Street Journal reports. Markets in Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea were spared from the global plunge yesterday due to a public holiday—but the respite proved to be short-lived. Japan and Hong Kong's indexes fell close to 5% while Korea dived 6.1%.
Financial shares fell first and furthest as investors were spooked by the collapse of Lehman and the grim predictions for AIG. The news that two major Japanese banks were Lehman's largest lenders helped drag Japan's index to a three-year low. The dollar and yen rose against other regional currencies as investors looked for safe harbors.
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