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Asia markets drop sharply on euro uncertainty

Markets in Asia Friday morning are continuing the precipitous tumble that began on Wall Street.
Markets in Asia Friday morning are continuing the precipitous tumble that began on Wall Street.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Markets in Asia opened sharply lower, continuing a global sell-off on European fears
  • The Nikkei 225 was down 3.23% in early trading; in Sydney the ASX 200 was down 3.19%
  • The VIX (VIX), Wall Street's fear gauge, spiked 30% to a 14-month high of 45.48
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) -- Markets in Japan, Australia and New Zealand opened sharply lower, continuing a global sell-off on European fears that escalated throughout the trading day on Wall Street.

The Nikkei 225 was down 3.23 percent after nearly two hours of trading. Sydney's ASX 200 was down 3.19 percent by 11 a.m. local time and New Zealand's NSX 50 was down 2.4 percent by 1 p.m.

The Nikkei 225 fell under the psychologically important 10,000 mark, with trade hovering around 9700 points late in the morning session.

Stocks got pummeled Thursday in New York with the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 losing enough to fall into "correction territory" -- marked by a drop of more than 10 percent off the rally highs, CNNMoney reports.

The CBOE Volatility index, the VIX (VIX), Wall Street's fear gauge, spiked 30 percent to a 14-month high of 45.48.

Worries about how the European debt crisis and slump in the euro will impact the global recovery fueled the selling, extending the monthlong declines. Worries in Japan about European woes were heightened by growing tensions between North and South Korea over the sinking of a South Korean military vessel.

Markets in Seoul and Hong Kong are closed today.

CNNMoney reports the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) fell 376 points, seeing its biggest one-day point loss since February 10, 2009. Thursday's point loss was equivalent to 3.6 percent, the biggest one-day percentage loss since March 5, 2009.

The loss was bigger than that in the so-called "flash crash" earlier this month in which the Dow lost nearly 1000 points during the session, but ended up closing down just shy of 348 points or 3.2 percent.

The Nasdaq (COMP) fell 94 points, seeing its biggest one-day point loss since December 1, 2008. The point loss Thursday was equivalent to 4.1 percent, its biggest one-day percentage loss since Feb. 17, 2009.

The S&P 500 (SPX) declined 43 points, its biggest one-day point loss since January 20, 2009. It was equivalent to a percentage loss of 3.9, the S&P's worst since April 20, 2009. Thursday's point and percentage drops for the Nasdaq and S&P were bigger than those made on the day of the flash crash.

CNNMoney's Alexandra Twin and CNN's Kyung Lah contributed to this story