European, Most Asian Stock Markets Fall As Japan's Recession Deepens

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

LONDON (AP) -- Fresh figures showing Japan's economy shrinking at its fastest pace in 35 years have sent stocks around the world falling.

The world's second-biggest economy contracted 3.3 percent from October through December. The fourth quarter report was worse than expected.

With one exception, the major Asian indexes closed down as did those in Europe. But the declines weren't extreme.

Japan's Nikkei lost 0.4 percent of its value, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.7 percent and South Korea's benchmark was off 1.4 percent.

The exception was Shanghai. It's main index gained 3 percent, extending a rally analysts attribute to a surge in bank lending.

The losses in Europe were heavier. Britain's main index closed down 1.3 percent. Germany's was off 1.1 percent and France's benchmark dropped 1.2 percent.

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