Asian trade: Asian stocks opened lower again, dropping to the lowest value in the last five years. The declines were led by financial companies and exporters in the Asian session. At the same time, the S&P futures traded flat, after seeing declines the day before.

It looks like the last 24-hours has been crucial for the fate of the global equity markets. The major U.S. indexes found the lowest close since 1997 on rumors that Citigroup is very close to being nationalized. That is, 50% of the value of U.S. equity markets was lost in just 16 months since the high reached in October 2007. From the three major indexes, the tech-loaded NASDAQ leads the declines, falling 53.51%, compared with the S&P at 52.5%, and the Dow at 49.8%.

However, things can be much worse. For example, the Nikkei just dropped to the lowest value since October 1982, dragged lower by the exporting companies. Every stock market opened for trading in Asia declined tonight, as the demand for their exports dropped. The Australian S&P/Asx is also trading near the lowest value in the last five years. Yesterday, the MSCI World Index declined for the eleventh consecutive day, falling nearly 16% this year.

The Nikkei fell 191.66 points (2.60%) to 7,184.50. The Australian S&P slide 47.30 points (1.41%) to 3,303.90.

Crude oil dropped tonight as the economy is set to slow even more. Crude oil for March delivery fell $0.25 to $38.25.

Gold is gaining strength to re-test the $1000 area. Bullion for immediate delivery fell $8.30 to $986.70.