Asian stock markets tumbled Monday as expectations mounted that U.S. markets, which open later today for the first time since last week's terrorist attacks, will fall sharply on opening.
News that the U.S. is considering ground action in Afghanistan, and its likely long term effect on the global economy, also weighed down markets.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index declined by 5 percent to 9504.4, its lowest for 17 years. Once again, exporters were sold off with three of the notable losers being Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., down by 9.2 percent; Canon Inc., down by 8.5 percent; and Sony Corp., down by 8.1 percent.
Among other leading electronics manufacturers, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. led the pack with a 5.1 percent loss, followed by NEC Corp., Sharp Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba and Fujitsu Ltd., which rounded up the rear with a 2.3 percent fall.
Australia's All Ordinaries index was down 4.8 percent at 2895.4. Telstra Corp. Ltd., the stock price of which has been on a downward trend since June, was down 1.4 percent Monday. New Zealand's NZSE 40 index was down 4.6 percent at 1790.3.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 3.5 percent to 9319.3, as Hong Kong media reported that police in nearby Macau were holding five Pakistanis in relation to the U.S. terrorist attacks. Pacific Century CyberWorks, the territories' major telecommunication carrier, ended down 2.8 percent while China Mobile was up as negotiators in Geneva approached an deal on China's entry into the World Trade Organization.
South Korea's Kospi index was also down 2.9 percent to 468.8 with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. losing 3.2 percent and Hynix Semiconductor Inc. down 14.6 percent.
Singapore's Straits Times index was down 4.9 percent to 1334.45. The exchange observed three minutes of silence at 2 p.m. local time to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks.
The Taiwan Stock Exchange was closed Monday because Typhoon Nari was bearing down on Taipei.