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US Jobs Data Drag Global Markets Lower

CARLO PIOVANO

LONDON (AP) â¿¿ Signs that the global economy is weakening and that Europe's debt crisis is still far from solved weighed on financial markets on Friday.

Economic indicators from the United States, China and Europe have been consistently downbeat this week. The job market in the U.S. is struggling to recover, weighing on consumer spending, one of the world's main drivers of growth. The other such driver â¿¿ Chinese manufacturing â¿¿ is contracting. In Europe, uncertainty over countries' debt problems is keeping many countries in recession.

Some traders hope central banks and governments will offer more stimulus measures, but it is unclear if and when that can be delivered.

By midafternoon in Europe, Germany's DAX was down 0.5 percent to 6,915.74 while France's CAC 40 shed 0.9 percent to 3,400.34. Britain's FTSE 100 stock index was down 0.6 percent at 5,768.86 despite revised official data showing the economy contracted 0.5 percent in the second quarter, less than earlier estimated. The number, however, leaves the country in recession.

Asian markets closed lower and Wall Street dropped on the open â¿¿ the Dow was down almost 0.1 percent at 13,056.71 and the broader S&P 500 was 0.1 percent lower at 1,400.59.

Market sentiment was hurt Thursday by surveys showing economic contraction in Europe, a drop in Chinese manufacturing output and a rise in jobless claims in the U.S.

At the same time, hopes for stimulus action are being frustrated by mixed signals from policymakers.

On Wednesday, minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed bankers favored more stimulus. But on Thursday, the president of the St. Louis Fed said officials were considering new data that might make further action unnecessary.

In China, analysts do not expect any more support for the economy for a couple months.

Beijing cut interest rates twice in June and is pumping money into the economy through high spending on public works. Governments of several major cities have announced their own multibillion-dollar spending plans, but analysts expect major new initiatives to be put off until after a new Communist Party leadership is installed this fall.

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