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US: Stocks fall on growth worries, Brexit fears

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[NEW YORK] US stocks opened lower Thursday as worries about weak economic growth and a potential British exit from the European Union marred sentiment.

The losses in the US shadowed declines in international markets after both the Bank of Japan and Bank of England kept interest rates unchanged, following a similar status-quo announcement Wednesday by the US Federal Reserve. All three central banks cited the upcoming British referendum on June 23 as a source of unease.

"There was a time not all that long ago when this flush of dovishness would have sent equity markets skyward," said analyst Patrick O'Hare.

"Now, they simply appear grounded by the belief that monetary policy has been ineffectual in producing escape velocity and that the central bankers haven't a good clue what to do about it at this juncture." Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,538.69, down 0.6 per cent.

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The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.5 per cent at 2,060.24, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.6 per cent at 4,807,56.