Global markets are mostly lower Thursday as a stalemate in Washington over extending enhanced unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, plus an expected record-plunge in U.S. gross domestic product during the April-June period cast pessimism over trading activity.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei index dropped 0.2%. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong closed 0.6% lower, and Shanghai's Composite index lost 0.2%.
Elsewhere in the region, the S&P/ASX index in Australia gained 0.8%. South Korea's KOSPI index gained 0.1%, while the TSEC index in Taiwan surged 1.4% and the Sensex in Mumbai closed 0.8% lower.
European markets are in freefall, with London's FTSE index down 1.7% in midday trading, the CAC-40 in Paris is 1.3% lower, and the DAX index has plunged 2.7% on news that Germany's GDP declined 10.1% in the second quarter, its biggest loss in 50 years.
Oil markets are also slumping Thursday, with U.S. crude trading at $40.54 per barrel, down 1.7%, and Brent crude oil trading at $43.05 per barrel, down 1.6%.
And all three major U.S. indices are trending negative ahead of Wall Street's opening bell.