NEW YORK/LONDON (AFP) - Stock markets around the world again suffered heavy losses Friday, as fear stalked trading floors and frazzled investors looked to a meeting of G7 finance chiefs for salvation. Stock exchanges were in turmoil after Wall Street opened sharply lower before limping into positive territory, only to plunge again on comments from US President George W Bush. European shares closely tracked the New York Stock Exchange, going into a frenzied free fall after the start of trade on Wall Street, briefly pulling back and then plummeting. Asian shares earlier in the day were likewise hammered, with Tokyo giving up more than 9.0pc and Hong Kong 7.2pc. In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 600 points or 7.0pc in afternoon trade to slide under 8,000 points amid a brutal selloff in global markets. The blue-chip index was at 7,978.80 at 1755 GMT. The Dow had been clawing back lost ground, after an earlier plunge of 7.9pc, until Bush's remarks appeared to dampen sentiment. The Nasdaq slid 6.24pc and Standard & Poor's 500 plunged 7.53pc in an eighth straight day of losses for Wall Street. Shares in Morgan Stanley were down 41.85pc in New York at $7.24 in early afternoon trading. This makes the whole company worth less than the $9.0b that MUFG has promised to invest in exchange for a minority stake of 21pc. Citigroup rose 5.96pc to $13.70 after throwing in the towel on its plans to buy rival bank Wachovia, but pledging to press its lawsuit for $60b for breach of contract. Wachovia rose 30pc to 4.68 as it prepared to merge with Wells Fargo, up 0.88pc at $27.49. Among big decliners, ExxonMobil fell 9.16pc to $61.77 after crude oil futures fell as low as 75 dollars a barrel in London. In an eight-minute speech in the White House Rose Garden, US President George W Bush sought to break a cycle of "uncertainty and fear" he blamed for aggravating the global financial meltdown, insisting US authorities can and will end the crisis. But he offered no new remedies for the economic bloodbath, warning a fearful US public and jittery markets that "anxiety can feed anxiety," which can obscure efforts that have been made to end the crisis. European markets posted huge losses at the close of trade. The London FTSE 100 index of leading shares fell 8.85pc to finish at 3,932.06, its sharpest daily plunge since the 1987 stock market crash. In Paris the CAC 40 lost 7.73pc to finish at 3,176.49 while the Frankfurt Dax shed 7.01pc to end the week at 4,544.31. Elsewhere there were declines of 7.14pc in Milan, 8.48pc in Amsterdam and 9.14pc in Madrid. With tension at fever pitch, global finance chiefs gathered in Washington for crisis talks, taking place amid a stunning loss of confidence in the global financial system. The meeting brought together ministers and central bankers of the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Italy and Canada. Bush has agreed to host the G7 finance ministers on Saturday. Eurogroup heads of state and government will hold a financial crisis summit in Paris on Sunday to "define a joint action plan for the eurozone," the French presidency said Friday. Commented Fred Dickson, chief strategist at DA Davidson: "The stock market is playing out a drama that would have left William Shakespeare shaking his head. "We are witnessing one of the biggest and fastest market meltdowns in the last 60 years. We are also seeing an incredibly oversold market continue to emerge although what we need now is for potential buyers who hold plenty of cash, to emerge and collectively begin to take advantage of the distressed market situation," he added. Tokyo nosedived, as the credit crisis claimed its first Japanese financial institution with the bankruptcy of Yamato Life Insurance, driving the Nikkei stock index down by the biggest daily drop for two decades. Hong Kong lost 7.2pc as panic swirled about the state of the global banking industry. The turmoil quickly spread to other Asian markets. Sydney plunged 8.3pc, Singapore lost 7.34pc and Seoul slid 4.1pc. Shanghai finished 3.57pc lower. Indian shares closed down 7.07pc Friday, despite an injection of liquidity from the country's Reserve Bank. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso warned the slump "has reached a point where it affects the real economy." The Bank of Japan pumped a total of $45.5b into money markets, the most since the financial crisis started, while the stock exchange briefly halted some trading in futures and options. Singapore eased monetary policy for the first time in more than four years. In Russia, regulators ordered the two main stock markets to remain closed after sharp falls in the United States and Asia, local media reported. The price of safe-haven gold rose while oil prices fell on worries about the prospect of weaker demand and as investors liquidate assets. Brent North Sea crude sank below the 80-dollar mark for the first time in about a year.