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Shares hit for six as markets stay nervous on US fears

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14/03/2007

European stocks tumbled this morning after a night of turbulence on the Asian markets, which were hit by heavy losses. Concern has been expressed about the health of UK saving and investment on the back of the figures as the volatility spreads.

Analysts said that the sell-off was primarily provoked by fears that the US economy was in danger of slowing significantly, with sub-prime mortgage lending, homes repossessions and weak retail activity the main sources of anxiety.

Yesterday’s trading in the US itself reflected these fears and the Dow recorded heavy losses.

City analyst Colin Perry said: “Asia’s main economies are fundamentally strong, but the markets in the region are acutely sensitive to signs of a possible economic slowdown in America.

“We have a similar story here – with a strong domestic economy but international worries gnawing away at market confidence and people’s saving and investment plans not based on any real confidence.

“We need a period of stability to allow the market to get its breath back and reassure investors that nothing is fundamentally wrong. However, the Far East is so dependent on the US market for its exports that any sign of trouble will be exaggerated.”

In early trading in London the FTSE lost 110.4 points, or 1.8% of its value, with Japan’s Nikkei down 2.9%.

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