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The worst terrorist attacks in the world's history have sent European stocks reeling.

Investors are fleeing financial assets such as shares and currencies for solid assets such as gold and oil.

The Frankfurt DAX index is down 9% and London's FTSE closed down 5.5%. The Paris CAC40 index is down 6%. European insurance and airline companies are taking a particularly harsh beating.

In overseas markets the price of a barrel of Brent crude oil is now up to $30 dollars in the London market. An ounce of gold is now up 2.3% to $280.

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The attacks in the U.S. began shortly before the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange closed, sending stocks down 2%.

The damage to the foreign currency market had been greater still: towards 5:00 p.m. Israel time the dollar leaped to NIS 4.4 ? its highest level ever. The shekel later picked up again, but after 6:00 p.m. the dollar was back at NIS 4.4.