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Tech sell-off sends world stock markets lower

By YOUKYUNG LEE

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) a¿¿ Global stock markets fell Friday as investors marked down technology stocks and a drop in U.S. jobless claims failed to boost confidence.

Sentiment was hit after the tech-heavy Nasdaq index on Thursday had its worst day since 2011 amid concerns that technology stocks are overvalued.

European markets traded lower, with Britain's FTSE 100 losing 1.2 percent to 6,563.56 by midday in London. Germany's DAX fell 1.5 percent to 9,317.13 and France's CAC-40 shed 1.1 percent to 4,364.66.

Wall Street looked set for lackluster trading a¿¿ Dow and S&P 500 futures were both down 0.1 percent. Nasdaq futures pointed to further losses of 0.2 percent.

The drop in technology stocks overshadowed upbeat economic reports out of the U.S. The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in almost seven years, suggesting improvement in the U.S. labor market.

Next week's first quarter economic growth data from China will be the key indicator investors are looking for as it could give hints about further stimulus announcements from Beijing, said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in a commentary.

Earlier in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 2.4 percent to close at 13,960.05 and South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.6 percent to 1,997.44. Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished 0.8 percent lower at 23,003.64 and China's Shanghai Composite shed 0.2 percent to 2,130.54.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dipped 1 percent to 5,428.60. Stocks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia also lost ground with Indonesia being the only bright spot.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery was down 4 cents at $103.36 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 20 cents to $103.40 on Thursday.

In currencies, the euro strengthened to $1.3892 from $1.3886 late Thursday. The dollar rose to 101.47 yen from 101.42 yen.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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