European nations scrambled on Sunday night to prevent a growing credit crisis from bringing down major banks and alarming savers as troubles in financial markets spread around the world, accelerating economic downturns on three continents.
The German government moved to guarantee all private savings accounts in the country on Sunday, hoping to reassure depositors who had grown nervous as efforts to bail out a large German lender and a major European financial company failed.
Late Sunday, it was disclosed that new bailouts had been arranged for both of those companies, Hypo Real Estate, the German lender, and Fortis, a large banking and insurance company based in Belgium but active across much of the Continent.
European markets slid at the opening, a day after governments were left scrambling to prevent the collapse of two lenders, Hypo Real Estate in Germany, and the Belgian operations of Fortis. The German government also said Sunday that it would guarantee all private bank deposits as it sought to avert the spread of the financial contagion.
In late morning trading, the FTSE 100 index in London was down 5.6 percent, while the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index, a barometer of euro zone blue chips, fell 4 percent. The DAX was down 5.5 percent in Frankfurt and the CAC-40 lost 5.9 percent.