What happened? First of all, heavy selling in Tokyo — where the blue-chip Nikkei 225 index plummeted 697.51 points, or 4.2 percent, to end at 15836.36. It was the first time the index retreated below the 16000 mark since 1995. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong dropped another 2.95 percent Friday, ending down 308.06, at 10104.5.
Traders also were put on edge Friday morning by a Labor Department employment report for October showing that non-farm payrolls unexpectedly increased sharply to 284,000. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent, the lowest level in 24 years.