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World Markets Slammed by Recession Fears

PAMELA SAMPSON

BANGKOK (AP) â¿¿ Asian stocks fell but Europe regained its balance Tuesday after several tumultuous sessions of trading sparked by the bleak U.S. jobs picture. Swiss shares soared after the country's central bank moved to control the strong franc.

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

European shares headed higher in early trading after a steep sell-off Monday. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.2 percent to 5,169.63. Germany's DAX was 1 percent higher at 5,299.08 and France's CAC-40 added 1 percent to 3,029.50.

Switzerland's benchmark climbed 4 percent after the Swiss National Bank announced it had fixed the country's exchange rate at 1.20 francs per euro to stem the franc's export-sapping strength.

Wall Street, which was closed Monday due to the Labor Day holiday, was bracing for losses. Dow futures were down 1.6 percent at 11,028 and broader S&P 500 futures fell 1.8 percent to 1,147.80.

Asian shares faced broad-based declines earlier in the day. Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped 2.2 percent to close at 8,590.57 with shares of the country's powerhouse export sector skidding amid fears of another U.S. recession. Toshiba Corp. plunged 5.1 percent and Panasonic Corp. lost 3.4 percent.

But utility shares bucked the losing trend, following remarks by Industry Minister Yoshio Hachiro in favor of resuming operations of idled nuclear reactors as soon as possible. Kansai Electric Power rose 3.5 percent, while Tokyo Electric Power was 1.3 percent higher.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.6 percent to 4,075.50 and South Korea's Kospi fell 1.1 percent at 1,766.71. Mainland Chinese shares lost further ground with the Shanghai's benchmark Composite Index slipping to nearly a 14-month low, down 0.3 percent at 2,470.52. The Shenzhen Composite Index lost 1.1 percent to 1,085.35.

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