Fear that congressional Republicans and President Obama will fail to steer the United States away from the fiscal cliff before a January deadline sent world stock markets lower on Wednesday. Britain's FTSE, Germany's DAX, Japan's Nikkei and France's CAC-40 all fell, and on Wall Street, both the Dow and the S&P 500 opened lower.
A resilient performance by Japanese shares helped stocks in Europe and the U.S. Thursday, while the yen pulled back from a record high against the dollar amid expectations that finance chiefs from the world's industrialized nations will discuss how to ease the currency's rise.
Most major indices in Europe and Asia were off about 3% due to concerns about debt of troubled E.U. nations, potential military action on the Korean peninsula, and worries that the U.K. and E.U. crisis could cause a global economic slowdown.