On Wednesday world markets fell following a steep sell-off on Wall Street as investors doubted the viability of the U.S. governments' latest rescue plan for the struggling financial industry with as much as $2 trillion in funding.
In European afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.5 percent at 4,192.97, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.6 percent to 3,001.75, and Germany's DAX slipped 0.4 percent to 4,488.34.
U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly higher start after markets plummeted the day before as investors were not reassured by the financial rescue. Dow futures were up 0.1 percent at 7,883 and Standard and Poor's futures were up 0.1 percent at 826.7.
Across Europe, bank stocks dragged down market indexes. Credit Suisse dropped as much as 8.3 percent after Switzerland's second biggest bank reported a fourth-quarter net loss of 6 billion Swiss francs ($5.61 billion), much worse than markets were expecting, as both asset management and investment banking lost money amid the financial turmoil. It later recovered most of its losses to trade 0.6 percent down.
In Asia, nearly every major market retreated, further hurt by new figures showing China's exports plunged 17.5 percent in January — the sharpest drop in more than a decade.
Investors across Asia and Europe remained skeptical as to whether the revamped bailout program presented Tuesday by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, would be enough to absorb the bad assets saddling bank balance sheets and free up frozen credit markets for consumers and businesses.
A centerpiece of the U.S. plan involves the government teaming with the private sector to buy up to $1 trillion in souring assets from financial firms. A separate lending program would be expanded to as much as $1 trillion from $200 billion for consumers and businesses.
But officials were short on specifics about how exactly the public-private partnership might work, analysts said, the Associated Press reported.
Elsewhere, benchmarks in Australia and India fell 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent.