Following the broad North American downturn last Friday, stock market indexes in Europe and Asia fell on Monday as investors weighed the weaker U.S. dollar and bearish comments from Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 1.2 per cent and Germany's DAX index fell 1.4 per cent, in afternoon trading there. And in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 plunged 4.5 per cent overnight.
Financial companies bore the brunt of it - with HSBC Holdings PLC being a notable exception after it released upbeat earnings - given that Mr. Buffett declared on Friday in his annual letter to shareholders that the "party was over" for insurance-industry profit margins. However, the sell-off was remarkably widespread, with few stocks left unmolested: In the FTSE 100, 93 per cent of the stocks declined; in the Nikkei 225, 97 per cent declined.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar declined yet again against the yen and the euro. Against a basket of currencies, the greenback is at its lowest point in at least 35 years. Stock index futures for the Dow Jones industrial average fell 50 points, to 12,256 in pre-market trading. Futures for the broader S&P 500 fell just 0.3 points, to 1331.