NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Stock indexes across the Americas plummeted after a series of attacks rocked New York and Washington, in what President Bush called an "apparent terrorist" activities. The attacks resulted in the collapse of both World Trade Towers and part of the Pentagon.|
Brazil's Bovespa received the brunt off the selling as the index tumbled 1094.43 points, or 9.18 percent.
Argentina's MerVal shed 14.87 points or 5.17 percent; Toronto's TSE 300 slid 295.90 points, or 4.03 percent; Mexico's IPC dropped 295.90 points or 5.55 percent.
All stocks in Latin America were eventually halted.
"Panic, without a doubt, and complete and total uncertainty as to what the economic consequences to this will be," said Aloisio Lemos, an investment consultant with Lopes Filho & Associados in Rio de Janeiro.
"These types of disasters in the United States always trigger a sense of the need for protection," said a market analyst in Sao Paulo. "These are emotional reactions to what could happen today."
Investors had expected the markets to recover Tuesday from the strong declines of Monday. But markets quickly turned into the red early Tuesday in line with European bourses after the attacks on U.S. soil began.
"The possibility of a rebound today is out of the question," said Marcelo Paccioni at ConsultCapital in Buenos Aires. "Stocks and bonds are tracking world markets due to the psychological effect of the situation in the United States."
The region's currencies were also whipped, with Brazil's real sinking to 2.680 per U.S. dollar, its lowest point since it was introduced in 1994. Mexico's peso tumbled 17.55 centavos to 9.57 per U.S. dollar and the Colombian peso slid 2 percent to 2,378 to the dollar.
Latin American bond trading, meanwhile, had also ground to a halt as many traders and investors were forced to evacuate their offices in New York.
Seeking safer investments at a time of turbulence, gold, oil and the Swiss franc rose sharply on world markets.
Latin American markets have been battered all year by fallout from Argentina's financial crisis and the slowing U.S. and global economies. The slump has reduced the amount of crucial inflows of foreign investment they will receive this year.
-from staff and wire reports