Asian Stocks Tumble; Nikkei Drops 9.4%

Updated from 12:59 a.m. EDT

Asian stocks closed sharply lower Wednesday with Japan's benchmark index losing 9.4%, the worst single-day percentage drop since 1987, as the global credit crisis deepens.

Stocks in Europe were tumbling and stock futures in the U.S. were indicating a lower opening.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Average closed downl 952.58 points to 9,203.32, its lowest finish since November 2003. Toyota Motor ( TM) fell almost 12% on a Nikkei newspaper report that the company's operating profit for the fiscal year is expected to decline 40% from an earlier forecast.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 8.2% to 15,431.73, despite the central's bank decision to cut interest rates by a percentage point to 2.5%. It's the first time in two years the index has dipped below 16,000.

Stocks in London were falling as the U.K. government Wednesday unveiled a rescue package for the U.K. banking sector in which it will invest up to 50 billion pounds ($87 billion). Shares of bank stocks, such as HBOS and Lloyds, rose.

The FTSE 100 index in London was down 5.6%, while the DAX in Frankfurt fell dropped 6.8%.

Futures on the S&P 500 in the U.S. were down 32.20 points to 973.60, and were 26.15 points below fair value. Nasdaq futures fell 34.50 points to 1302, and were 37.15 points below fair value.

Stocks in the U.S. on Tuesday fell as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pointed to increased downside risk for the U.S. economy and hinted that the central bank may reduce its target interest rate.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 508.39 points, or 5.1%, to 9447.11, its first dip below 9500 since October 2003. The S&P 500 was off 60.66 points, or 5.7%, to 996.23, trading below the 1,000-point mark for the first time in five years. Nasdaq lost 108.08 points, or 5.8%, to 1754.88.

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