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Global economic funk prompts defensive plays

Investors give European stocks wide berth as they seek refuge in sectors that show promise

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A worker at the copper refinery of Codelco Ventanas in Ventanas city, Santiago. Some analysts prefer copper-mining stocks as they see supply and demand being more closely balanced for the metal than for other industrial metals.

IF global financial markets are telling a story, it's one set in a dystopia where chronic malaise keeps the economy on the verge of recession and companies can't raise prices because people can't afford to pay more.

One sign of the grim outlook is the collapse in oil prices to about US$45