European stock markets closed lower. London's FTSE 100 index ended with a loss of 61.80 points, or 1.2%, to 5,092.50, weighed down by telecommunications heavyweights BT Group and Vodafone. Germany's Xetra DAX skidded 98.55 points, or 2.02%, to 4,773.21. German car makers were weak ahead of full-year earnings from Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler.
In France, the CAC 40 Index declined 90.69 points, or 2.09%, to 4,256.36, dragged lower by France Telecom and its mobile-phone unit Orange. Telecom-equipment maker Alcatel lost ground after a downgrade of the stock's rating by Moody's.
Asian markets closed lower. In Japan, the Nikkei lost 246.09 points, or 2.44%, to close at 9,847.16, dragged down mostly by financial stocks. A broad sell-off followed an uneventful set of bilateral talks between Prime Minister Koizumi and President Bush, revealing disappointment that no substantive economic and financial reform measures were unveiled. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index declined 162.32 points, or 1.48%, to end at 10,840.49.