World Stocks Hit

Japan down 4%, Europe holding at down 2%.

AP: Every major market in Asia retreated, giving up most of the gains from the previous session when investors shrugged off gloomy economic data about China and Japan and sent stocks higher…

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 shed 1.5 per cent, Germany’s DAX lost 2.4 per cent and France’s CAC-40 was down 2.4 per cent.

Earlier in the day, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average dropped 306.49 points, or 3.8 per cent, to 7,745.25. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index eased 0.6 per cent to 12,578.60, while South Korea’s Kospi sank 2.1 per cent to 1,093.40 points.

Elsewhere, Australia’s main index dived more than 4 per cent, Shanghai’s benchmark was down 0.7 per cent and Singapore’s stock measure lost 0.6 per cent…

Oil prices were lower, with light, sweet crude for March delivery fell $1.28 to $42.39 a barrel in Asian trade. The contract rose overnight 12 cents settle at $43.67.

In currencies, the dollar sank to 88.17 yen from 89.03 yen late Thursday. The euro was lower at $1.2780 compared to $1.3001.

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