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Europe Stocks Skid on Spain Bombing


European stock markets skidded Thursday in reaction to Wall Street's plunge Wednesday and the deadly terrorist bombings in Madrid.

London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was down 100.1 points, or 2.2%, to 4,445.2. Flomerics Group was lower, after the company said 2003 net income fell 15% from year ago levels because of the U.S. dollar's slump. Argonaut Games fell, after the company said its first-half loss widened from a year ago due to the weak dollar.

Germany's DAX index lost 139.75 points, or 3.46%, to 3,904.95. The German IFW economic institute lowered its EuroZone economic growth forecast. There was little reaction to a report showing February inflation fell to the lowest level since last July.

In Paris, the CAC 40 fell 111.66 points, or 2.97%, to 3,646.43. The Bank of France sees economy growing only 0.5% in first the two quarters.

Asian markets finished lower on Thursday. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index lost 136.2 points, or 1.19%, to 11,297.04, with computer-related companies and automakers accounting for more than a quarter of its drop. Banks continued to remain positive, but exporters were hurt again as the Japanese yen resumed its strength vs. the U.S. dollar in Asian trade.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 190.14 points, or 1.44%, to 13,024.06. The conservative budget speech delivered by the Financial Secretary Henry Tang on Wednesday offered no stimulus to the stock market.

Canada's benchmark S&P/TSX fell 81.54 points, or 0.95%, to 8,503.88.


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