Stock prices plunged again around the world on Friday, amid growing signs of a global recession.

Key U.S. stock indexes closed down more than three percent Friday, after falling even further in earlier trading.

European markets also fell, closing down as much as five percent after a report that the British economy is on the brink of recession. The report says the economy shrank by 1/2 percent in the third quarter. It is the first contraction of the British economy in 16 years.

Asian investors reacted to disappointing earnings reports from major companies with a massive selloff.

Also Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon vowed to champion the world's poor at U.S. President George Bush's economic summit next month.

Mr. Ban said the financial crisis should not force millions of people back into extreme poverty.

President Bush has invited leaders of wealthy nations and major developing economies to a summit on November 15 that will focus on the global financial crisis.

In Washington Friday, members of the House of Representatives Labor Committee heard first-hand about the difficulties facing Americans who have lost their jobs.

Committee chairman, Democrat George Miller, said "There is a realization that recession is setting in," and that it likely will be "long," "deep," and "global."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.