Asian Markets Fall

Ready for another wild day? Asian markets slumped in early trading Thursday after Wall Street closed 4.6 percent down and on fears of a looming European financial crisis. France became the new fear of investors, as rumors spread that the country would lose its AAA credit rating and many worried about the health of the European central banks. Japan’s Nikkei index rose 1.5 percent in early trading, but the benchmark MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan stocks index fell 1.2 percent. The euro was at $1.4175, largely unchanged by the rumors of a debt crisis. Gold climbed above $1,800 an ounce—a new record—part of an 11 percent increase this month.