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Europe

European Shares Plunge as Euro Hits Three-Year Low

Trading took another hit Friday as European stocks sank amid renewed recession fears and rapidly-dropping stocks in Asia. With the European Central Bank expected to cut interests again, the euro also kept falling.

A broker reacts at the stock market in Frankfurt, central Germany

More headaches for brokers are on the way as European stocks continue to fall

Global shares are ending the week on a grim note, with a new wave of selling hitting European stocks Friday, Oct. 24 as concerns grew about the outlook for corporate profits.

Picking up on steep falls on Asian markets and volatile trading on Wall Street, Europe's blue-chip Stoxx 50 plunged more than 6 percent in early trading Friday with a steady stream of weak third-quarter earnings reports fuelling worries about a looming recession.

The sense of gloom was repeated across national European stock exchanges, with London slumping 5.8 percent, the CAC 40 index tumbling 6.4 percent and Zurich falling 4.5 percent amid fears that the OPEC oil producing nations will cut production.

Germany experiences sharp decrease

Worries about the impact of a sharp economic slowdown on European exports helped to drive down shares in Frankfurt about 7 percent to a three-year low. Germany is the world's leading export nation.

Broker Simone Wallmeyer is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, central Germany

Shares fell seven percent in Germany, the world's leading export nation

At the same time, downbeat corporate earnings have continued to roll in, with companies painting a bleak picture of the business outlook for key industries.

Despite a possible OPEC production cut, the growing recession fears resulted in another sharp drop in oil prices, which fell about 4 percent to $65.23 a barrel.

Euro crashes to three-year low

Expectations that the slowing global economy and weaker inflation projections will result in the European Central Bank cutting interest rates again resulted in the euro hitting a three-low of below $1.26.

By late morning, the euro had dropped 2.7 percent to $1.2546. Earlier this year, the euro climbed to all-time high of more than $1.60. However, economists now believe that the ECB will deliver another hefty cut in borrowing costs by the end of the year as economic growth and inflation slow.

The big falls in European stocks came in the wake of shares in Tokyo cascading down almost 10 percent and stocks in Hong Kong dropping nearly 8 percent. The Shanghai composite was off 2.4 percent.

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