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Last Updated: Monday, 3 March 2008, 17:14 GMT
Stock markets fall on US worries
Pedestrians walk past an electronic market board in Tokyo
The weak US economy is taking its toll in Japan
Stock markets worldwide have fallen as investors continue to worry about a possible US recession.

On Wall Street the Dow Industrials recovered from early losses to close 7 points lower, that followed a sharp 2.5% drop on Friday.

The UK's FTSE 100 index ended 1% lower at 5,818.6, while Germany's Dax dropped 0.9% and France's Cac fell 1%.

Earlier, shares across Asia, excluding China's mainland market, were hit after the bleak US economic data on Friday.

Tokyo's Nikkei index tumbled 4.5%, while India's Sensex index shed as much as 5%.

In Europe, the Dax stock index shed 58 points to settle at 6,689.9, while the Paris-based Cac closed at 4,742.7, down 48 points.

Weak US

Weak US consumer spending figures, gloomy comments from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and disastrous results at insurer American International Group (AIG) have helped to unnerve investors.

There is even a growing view that the US has already entered into a recession
Ryohei Muramatsu, Commerzbank analyst

HSBC, the last of the UK's "big five" banks to report annual results, warned that its future looked uncertain, despite reporting that profit rose 10% to $24.2bn in 2007.

Banks and financial firms were the biggest fallers across Europe, with UK's HBOS falling more than 7%, and Alliance & Leicester down more than 6%.

"The medium term is very difficult to predict as there are a lot of unanswered questions around banks' balance sheets," said Thierry Lacraz, strategist at Swiss bank Pictet.

Exporters suffer

Earlier on Monday, shares fell across Asia on concerns that flagging US consumer demand would hurt profits at the region's exporters, which are some of the region's biggest employers.

Shares were also hurt by a weakening dollar, amid fears that it will cut the value of exporters' foreign earnings.

The dollar fell to its lowest level against the yen for three years. In early trading in Tokyo it was as low as 102.90 yen and it fell to that level again in afternoon Europe trade.

Japan's main Nikkei 225 index closed down 610.84 points at 12,992.18, its lowest level for six weeks, with carmakers Toyota and Honda bearing the brunt of the sell-off.


FTSE 100
23.70 0.44%
19.54 0.34%
Cac 40
14.48 0.38%
Dow Jones
78.53 0.76%
35.31 1.58%
S&P 500
11.22 1.02%
BBC Global 30
20.65 0.36%
Data delayed by at least 15 minutes

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