Global stock markets extended their shakeout into a second day Tuesday, plunging amid worries that a possible U.S. recession will cause a worldwide economic slowdown.
The dramatic declines in Asia and Europe were expected to spread to Wall Street, where stock index futures were already down sharply hours before the trading day began.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 8 percent by midday before officials decided to close it to all trading, fearing a further slide.
Trading was also halted in India when the Sensex index plummeted 9.75 percent within minutes of opening. The market reopened for trading later Tuesday.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index, the benchmark for Asia's biggest bourse, was down 5.1 percent in afternoon trading after dropping 3.9 percent Monday.
"Unless we get some positive 'shock effects,' such as drastic measures from the U.S. government, there is almost no hope for a recovery in stocks," said Koji Takeuchi, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo.