World stock markets dive in crisis of confidence

LONDON, October 10, 2008 (AFP) – Global stocks went into a tailspin on Friday, with double-digit losses in Frankfurt, London and Tokyo, on widespread fears that the financial crisis was spiralling out of control, dealers said. World finance chiefs were preparing an emergency meeting in Washington as a wave of panic selling swept across markets.

Interest rate cuts and billions of dollars’ worth of cash injections by central banks failed to calm the mayhem.

“It’s very close to panic. We are drowning in a sea of red numbers,” said Barclays Wealth analyst Henk Potts.

“Investors are concerned about the exacerbation of the credit crunch and the gloomy forecasts for economic growth.

“The reality is that most investors have been spooked by the sheer pressure that the credit crunch is putting on the global economy.”

Tokyo dived 11 percent at one point, as the credit crisis claimed its first Japanese financial institution with the bankruptcy of Yamato Life Insurance, driving the Nikkei stock index down 9.6 percent by the close.

In Europe, investors were also reacting to this week’s nationalisation of Icelandic banks Glitnir, Kaupthing and Landsbanki, victims of the crisis.

Shortly after the o