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Europe: Stocks drop at open

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Europe's stock markets sank at the open on Friday after heavy losses elsewhere, as investors fears intensified over a sharp global economic slowdown.

[LONDON] Europe's stock markets sank at the open on Friday after heavy losses elsewhere, as investors fears intensified over a sharp global economic slowdown.

In initial deals, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip companies slid 0.6 per cent to 7,122.65 points.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index shed almost 0.8 per cent to 11,429.77 points and the Paris CAC 40 dipped 0.6 per cent to 5,233.97, compared with Thursday's closing levels.

Equities sank Thursday after the European Central Bank slashed its 2019 eurozone growth and inflation forecasts.

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Asia joined the selloff on Friday after data showed Chinese trade fell off a cliff last month.

The ECB also said Thursday that eurozone interest rates would stay at historic lows until at least the end of this year, helping to send the euro to its lowest level since June 2017.

The Frankfurt-based institution added it would also offer new low-cost loans to banks, to stimulate lending conditions.

Investors however focussed on the darkening economic outlook, amid stubborn concerns over the fate of US-China trade talks.

"The recent rally in European markets appears to have finally run out of steam this week as investors start to take profits over concerns that the macro economic backdrop is much weaker than was thought to be the case," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

"Whatever the outcome of a US-China trade deal, it won't be enough to mitigate a broader economic slowdown."

AFP