NEW YORK, New York - World stock markets shattered on Monday. Dramatic falls were sparked firstly in Asia when the Malaysian prime minister abruptly resigned throwing the coalition government into disarray.
There were concerns on the coronavirus front as well, as the number of cases in South Korea rose to 763 with seven deaths recorded so far. In Iran, there are only forty three cases, however 8 people have died.In Italy 150 cases have been registered, and three deaths.
The Dow Jones index recorded its second-biggest daily point drop in its 124-year history.
The key index plunged 1,031.61 points or 3.56% to close at 27,960.80.
The Standard and Poor's 500 shed 111.86 points or 3.35% to 3,225.89.
The Nasdaq Composite fell 355.31 points or 3.71% to 9,221.28.
A softening in treasury yields saw the U.S. dollar ease.
The euro rose to a one-week high, seeing out the day in New York on Monday at 1.0855.
The British pound rose slightly to 1.2928. The Japanese yen was unchanged at 111.59. The Swiss franc edged up to 0.9783.
The Canadian dollar was slightly stronger at 1.3293. The Australian dollar rose to 0.6626. The New Zealand dollar climbed to 0.6349.
Overseas, the London FTSE 100 tumbled 3.31%. The German Dax dived 4.01%.
In Paris, the CAC 40 shed 3.94%.
On Asian markets, the main index on the Kuala Lumpur exchange plunged to a 10-year low as Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad signaled he is about to renege on his campaign promise of 2018 to step down and hand over power to Anwar Ibrahim. The 94-year old is believed to be plotting with other coalition members and people with Anwar's party to form a new coalition in a bid to exclude Anwar and ensure Mahathir gets a new 5-year term. He had promised to step down in May this year, or at the very least before the next election. Now he seems to be set on staying in power until he is 99 years old (at least).
The ructions on the stock market reverberated to the foreign exchange market where the ringgit dived to a six-month low.
China's Shanghai Composite surprisingly only dropped 8.44 points or 0.28% to 3,031.23. Perhaps this was because the heat is now moving to other countries, whereas in China there are signs the coronavirus has peaked.
The biggest fall in the Asia Pacific region was in Australia where the All ords tumbled 165.00 points or 2.28% to 28,706.54. The Aussie dollar too was being sold off sharply, however as indicated earlier, the unit recovered somewhat in the New York session.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gave up 487.93 points or 1.79% to 26,820.88.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 92.46 points or 0.39% to 23,386.74.