Stocks deepen decline amid global growth concerns

Stocks deepen decline amid global growth concerns

It was down about 4.7 percent for the week, its biggest percentage decline since end November. Shares pared declines late in the day as some analysts focused on the longer-term positive trend for jobs.

After an initial slide, the Pound Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate rallied on Thursday afternoon as markets reacted to the European Central Bank's (ECB) policy decision.

Adding to the selling pressure was data showing Chinese exports plunged more than 20 percent last month, while imports were also sharply down both missing expectations by some margin. The news came a day after ECB President Mario Draghi delivered fresh stimulus as he downgraded the outlook for the euro area.

The S&P 500 closed near a four-week low. MSCI's index was on pace for its worst week since late December. China's stock market slumped the most since October as traders interpreted a rare sell rating from the nation's largest brokerage as a sign the government wants to curb gains.

"Our own view is that the Chinese economy is slower than people generally think, but I think the world economy is probably slower than people think, so you put those two together and it is not surprising that the trade data was weaker than expected".

When equities post losses, the precious metal usually goes up, as investors are looking for a safe haven.

The House of Commons votes on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's revised Brexit deal on Tuesday, 20 days before Britain is scheduled to leave the EU.

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West Texas oil futures slipped below US$56 a barrel in NY as the weakening outlook for the global economy and rising crude stockpiles in the USA signaled that markets will remain comfortably supplied.

With the Shanghai Composite up by more than 26 percent in just three months, there are fears that the bull-run is out of control and overheating.

The Euro Stoxx 50, DAX and FTSE 100 are all down by more than 0.5%. Platinum for April delivery was up 0.5 dollar, or 0.06 percent, to settle at 817.60 dollars per ounce.

The dollar weakened 0.2 percent after reaching a new 2019 high against a basket of currencies that includes the euro as traders bet the United States would fare better than Europe in the coming months, despite some soft patches in the USA economy.

European vehicle stocks were at the forefront, slipping 1.6%, with an unexpected decline in German industrial orders adding to the China woes.

The greenback was effectively flat at 111.63 yen after dipping 0.15 percent against its Japanese peer overnight amid risk aversion in broader markets.

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