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Updated at 8:30 am on 17 October 2008
Mounting fears of global recession continue to hammer world stocks.
European stocks ended steeply lower on Thursday.
The Dow Jones industrial average also sank deeply in early trading on news of a sharp plunge in September industrial orders in the United States - strengthening prospects for a recession.
However, the index rose sharply in late trade.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares unofficially ended down 5.5 percent at 853.81 points.
Across Europe: in Paris, the CAC 40 lost 5.92% to finish at 3,181. The Frankfurt Dax closed down 4.91% at 4,622.81.
Amsterdam was down 5.69%, Brussels by 6.54%, the Swiss Market Index by 3.26%, Madrid by 4.11% and Milan by 6.78%.
Both of Russia's main stock markets dropped more than 9%.
In Britain, the FTSE 100 index fell 5.35% to close at 3,861.39 points.
Crude oil fell 7.5% below $US70 a barrel.
Earlier in Japan, the Nikkei stock index fell more than 11% - its biggest loss in two decades.
In Australia, about $A86 billion in value was wiped from the market. The Australian 200 Index ended down 287 points, 6.7%, at 4013.
In New Zealand, the NZX 50 index closed down 139 points, or 5%, to 2764 on turnover of $93 million.
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