FRANKFURT — Fears that the United States is in a recession reverberated around the world on Monday, sending stock markets from Bombay to Frankfurt into a tailspin and puncturing the hopes of many investors that Europe and Asia will be able to sidestep an American downturn.
On a day when United States markets were closed in observance of Martin Luther King’s Birthday, the world’s eyes were trained nervously on the United States. Investors reacted with what many analysts described as panic to the multiplying signs of weakness in the American economy.
Shares of banks led the decline in many countries, underscoring that the subprime crisis continues to hobble the global financial system. On Monday, a big German state bank, WestLB, said it would report a loss of $1.4 billion in 2007 because of its exposure to deteriorating mortgage assets.
“There is indeed some panic,” said Thomas Mayer, the chief European economist at Deutsche Bank in London. “What we’re seeing, in Europe and Asia, is that the markets are pricing in a recession.”
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