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Asian Stocks Sink As Global Economy Fears Rise

KELVIN CHAN

HONG KONG (AP) â¿¿ World stocks mostly drifted lower Monday as investors' growing concerns about the shaky global economy overpowered any remaining optimism over central bank stimulus efforts.

Crude oil tumbled while the dollar rose against the euro but fell against the Japanese yen.

In early European trading, the FTSE 100 index of leading British companies fell 0.3 percent to 5,832.47 and France's CAC 40 dropped 0.7 percent to 3,506.36. Germany's DAX shed 0.3 percent to 7427.70.

U.S. stocks were poised to fall. Dow futures were down 0.1 percent to 13,482.00 while broader S&P 500 futures dipped 0.1 percent to 1,449.70.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.4 percent to close at 9,069.29 and while Seoul's Kospi index was practically unchanged at 2,003.44. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.2 percent to 20,694.70 while Sydney's ASX S&P 200 fell 0.5 percent to 4,385.50. Benchmarks in Singapore, Indonesia, New Zealand and India also fell.

Strategists at Credit Agricole CIB wrote in a research note that the "euphoria emanating" from recent moves by the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and Bank of Japan to stimulate growth is "fading quickly."

"The reality of weak growth and underlying structural tensions is coming back to haunt markets."

The Fed vowed in mid-September to buy billions in mortgage securities until the economy improves in a third round of what is known as quantitative easing, or QE3. The ECB and Bank of Japan followed with their own renewed bond-buying plans.

"There is this struggle between optimism towards QE3 and the concern about the global economic slowdown," said Louis Wong, a director at Phillip Securities in Hong Kong. "So investors are weighing the easing measures of central banks and the health of the global economy."

China's Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to close at 2,033.19, reversing losses earlier in the day. However, the benchmark is still at its lowest point since January 2009.

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