Global stock markets hit by fears over economic growth

German trader Image copyright Getty Images

Global stock markets have been hit by fears over global growth following a run of bad economic news.

German figures revealed a sharp drop in industrial production, raising fears than Europe's traditionally strongest economy was weakening.

Then the International Monetary Fund revised down its global economic growth forecasts, cutting its estimates for the eurozone's three largest economies.

The French Cac 40 fell 1.8%, Germany's Dax 1.3% and Wall Street closed lower.

At the end of trading, the main US indexes were down between 1.5% and 1.6%.

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Last Updated at 16 Oct 2017, 20:00 GMT *Chart shows local time Dow Jones intraday chart
value change %
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Top winner and loser

JP Morgan Chase & Co.

97.84 +

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

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"World equities are reacting to much more evidence of weakness. Germany's starting to slow down and it was the engine of the European economy. That's clearly a concern, investors weren't happy with it," said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O'Neill Securities.

The falls were exacerbated by a drop in the shares of airlines and travel companies, hurt by fears over the impact of the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

It came after a Spanish nurse contracted the disease in the first known case outside west Africa.

Shares in British Airways owner International Airlines Group fell 6.9%, while budget rival Easyjet's shares dropped 5.3% and cruise ship operator Carnival closed down 6.7%.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Robin Byde said the impact of the virus was still uncertain.

"You could be looking at worst case scenario major travel disruption, long haul and short haul. My view is that that looks unlikely but there is obviously concern in the market today," he added.

However, the sharp falls were cushioned by the mining sector which traded flat, boosted by the prospect of merger and acquisition activity.

Shares in Rio Tinto rose 0.8% after it rejected an approach by rival firm Glencore in August, because it was "not in the best interests" of its shareholders.

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