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World Markets Savaged By U.S. Recession Fears

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BANGKOK — Asian stocks fell Tuesday, dragged down by sharp losses in European markets the day before as fears mounted of a worsening global economy.

Oil slid to $84 a barrel amid expectations that continued weakness in developed economies will crimp demand for crude. The dollar was higher against the euro but lower against the yen.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped 1.2 percent to 8,676.12 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.2 percent to 4,092.20. South Korea's Kospi index was down 1 percent at 1,767.35.

The falls in Asia come a day after European shares suffered sharp losses. Britain's FTSE 100 closed down 3.6 percent to 5,102.58. Germany's DAX tumbled 5.3 percent to 5,246.18, and France's CAC-40 dived 4.7 percent to 2,999.54.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 1 percent at 19,417.10, with property developers hurt by speculation that the Chinese government may further slow investment in construction as it seeks to tamp down inflation and rebalance the economy.

Hong Kong-listed Anhui Conch Cement Co. plunged 6.5 percent. Blue chip developer China Vanke Co. lost 3.8 percent. The company also reported its sales in August dropped 12.6 percent from a year earlier, a possible sign that the government's cooling measures are having a real impact.

A wave of negative sentiment was unleashed Friday, when a government report said the U.S. economy failed to add any new jobs in August. That caused European and Asian stock markets to sink sharply Monday.

The August jobs figure was far below economists' already tepid expectations for 93,000 new U.S. jobs and renewed concerns that the U.S. recovery is not only slowing but actually going into reverse.

U.S. hiring figures for June and July were also revised lower, adding to the gloom. The unemployment crisis has prompted President Barack Obama to schedule a major speech Thursday night to propose steps to stimulate hiring.

The health of the U.S. economy is crucial for the wider world because consumer spending there accounts for a fifth of global economic activity. The U.S. imports huge amounts from Japan and China and is closely linked at all levels with the European market.

Wall Street, which was closed Monday due to the Labor Day holiday, was bracing for losses Tuesday.

Benchmark oil for October delivery was down $2.45 to $84 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude last settled at $86.45 on Friday because U.S. markets were closed Monday for the holiday.

In London, Brent crude for October delivery was up 60 cents at $110.68 on the ICE Futures exchange.

In currencies, the euro weakened to $1.4073 from $1.4187 in New York late Friday as worries mounted about Greece's ability to meet requirements set by international lenders to stave off a massive default on the country's debts.

The dollar weakened to 76.81 yen from 76.87 yen. Last month, the dollar fell under 76 yen, which was a new post-World War II high for the Japanese currency.

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