Panic selling global stock markets

NEW YORK, October 22, 2008 (AFP) – Recession fears stalked trading floors around the world Wednesday, sparking major losses in Asia, Europe and on Wall Street as investors weighed prospects for a prolonged global downturn.

The realization that a worldwide financial crisis is pummeling economies — and driving down growth, employment and corporate profits in the process — , depressed sentiment.

“Any hope that a degree of normality may have returned to the market seems to be premature,” said CMC Markets dealer Jimmy Yates. “It’s the threat of recession and downbeat earnings outlooks that seem to be dominating for the time being.”

US stocks plummeted on growing global recession worries, grim corporate outlooks and falling oil prices, with the broad-market Standard and Poor’s 500 index finishing at a five-year low.

Crude oil prices meanwhile slid more than five dollars a barrel in New York and London.

The White House announced it would host a summit of the leaders of the Group of 20 rich and emerging nations on November 15 to try to coordinate efforts to counter the worst financial crisis in seven decades.

US stocks spent the second straight day deep in the red, joining the global stock market in