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US: Stocks tumble on growth, Brexit fears

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks tumbled early on Friday on worries about declining government bond yields in many countries and the upcoming British vote on whether to leave the European Union.

The losses in the US were not as great as in Europe, where markets in Frankfurt, Paris and London all shed about two per cent or more due in part to anxiety about the June 23 so-called "Brexit" vote in Britain.

Tumbling yields for government bonds as investors shun stocks for bonds are a sign of the "flight from risk," said FTN Financial analyst Chris Low.

About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,840.67, down 0.8 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.9 per cent to 2,096.93, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 1.1 per cent to 4,903.58.