World stocks head lower as slowdown fears grow
European shares joined a global sell-off in riskier assets on Monday after disappointing May economic data from the United States and China overwhelmed any positive impact from hopes the world's central banks would ease policy further.
The euro slid 0.3% to $1.2400, moving closer to the $1.2288 it hit on Friday, its lowest level since July 2010, while Brent crude oil fell below $97 a barrel to a 16-month low..
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Safe haven U.S. and German government bond yields held near Friday's record lows.
"Investors are just fleeing risk assets," said ATI Asset Management chief investment officer Simon Burge.
The latest sell-off followed disappointing U.S jobs growth figures on Friday and weak Chinese manufacturing data, which stoked fears that the problems in the euro zone are causing a worldwide slowdown in business activity.
Those fears caused sharp falls across Asian markets on Monday, dragging Tokyo's Topix index to a 28-year low, and followed a fall of more than 2% in U.S. stocks on Friday. The MSCI world equity index was down 0.5% at 290.58 points.
UK markets were closed for a holiday on Monday, though the FTSE Eurofirst index of top European shares opened down 0.7% at 2054.97 points after hitting a six-month low on Friday.