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European Shares Likely To Slip After Weak China Data


European stocks may open on a tepid note Friday amid fears of a slowing global economy.

Risk appetite faded after ECB President Mario Draghi said the economy was in "a period of continued weakness and pervasive uncertainty".

Investors also await U.S. payrolls data for February due later in the day that may show a moderation in hiring due to external uncertainties.

Employment is expected to rise by 180,000 jobs in February after rising by 304,000 jobs in January. The jobless rate is expected to tick up to 3.3 percent from 3.2 percent.

Asian stocks edged lower in cautious trade as shockingly weak export data from China added to investor worries over global growth.

Official data showed that Chinese exports plummeted 20.7 percent in February from a year earlier, reflecting weaker demand and distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday.

That was far below expectations for a 4.8 percent drop. Imports fell 5.2 percent after a 1.5 percent fall in January.

China's Shanghai Composite index fell nearly 3 percent to register its sharpest single-day loss since October, while Japan's Niikkei index dropped more than 2 percent.

The euro struggled near a 21-month low against the dollar and gold held steady while oil prices eased on concerns over fuel demand.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fell notably amid concerns around global growth after the European Central Bank slashed its economic growth forecast, citing external uncertainties.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 dropped around 0.8 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 1.1 percent.

European markets also closed lower on Thursday as the ECB trimmed its growth forecast for euro zone economic growth but announced it would provide new loans for banks to stimulate growth.

The pan European Stoxx 600 eased 0.4 percent. The German DAX shed 0.6 percent, France's CAC 40 index slipped 0.4 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined half a percent.

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