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Europe: Stocks slide at open

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[LONDON] European stock markets slid at the start of trading on Thursday following losses across Asia and on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve hinted at a June interest rate hike.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index slipped 0.7 per cent to 6,119.99 points compared with Wednesday's close.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index shed one per cent to 9,847.64 points and the Paris CAC 40 lost 0.6 per cent to 4,292.25.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's April policy meeting released Wednesday suggested an interest rate hike next month was a much more serious possibility than the market believed.

The US central bank has repeatedly stated its intention to continue raising rates this year after December's first hike in nine years. That prospect has already tightened money conditions for borrowers around the world and strengthened the US dollar.

Meanwhile at the start of European trading Thursday, the share price of German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Bayer slid by 7 per cent after the company said it was in merger talks with US agricultural firm Monsanto.

Bayer shares were the biggest losers on the blue-chip DAX 30 index in Frankfurt, plunging to 89.65 euros.

AFP