European Stock markets fall on profit worries

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The Independent Online

Investors hammered European stock markets today as worry mounted that the gathering global slowdown will hurt profits and that Wall Street was in for another wild ride.

Investors hammered European stock markets today as worry mounted that the gathering global slowdown will hurt profits and that Wall Street was in for another wild ride.

In Tokyo, however, stocks posted modest gains today, as investors bought technology issues following a rise overnight on Wall Street. The Nikkei's uptick only marginally offset the huge losses on Tuesday that left it at a new 16-year low.

In Europe, technology and telecommunications stocks suffered some of the biggest losses, as the sector continued recoiling from instability on New York's Nasdaq.

Frankfurt's tech-heavy Nemax 50 index of companies was down 6.84 percent in the late afternoon, after falling as low as 8.5 percent earlier in the day. The Nasdaq slipped below 2,000 on Monday, though recovered somewhat on Tuesday, closing above 2,014 on the heels of a 4.8 percent gain.

The FTSE-100 dropped 3.28 percent with only five companies among the top-flight index recorded gains. Banking stocks were also heavy fallers, with Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC all diving.

Germany's blue chip DAX index was also struggling, down 4 percent to 5.723,47. All 30 companies in the DAX were chalking up losses with Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen and BMW coming in among its biggest losers.

Dow Jones Pan-European DJ Stoxx index was down 3 percent as was Paris' CAC40 benchmark.

European stocks began falling earlier in the day on predictions New York markets would cave in after Wall Street opened.

In New York, stocks met those expectations and plunged more than 229 points to the 10,061 level and was in danger of falling below 10,000 for the first time since October. The drop wiped out the average's 82-point gain Tuesday and compounded a 436-point slide on Monday.

The Nasdaq composite index declined 57 points at the 1,955 level.

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