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The Hamilton Spectator
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Wednesday September 21, 2011
Europe's failure to resolve its spiralling debt crisis saw stock markets and the euro fall sharply on Monday amid fears that Greece, the country at the centre of the drama, was veering towards default.

Investors watched closely as a crucial teleconference between the Greek finance minister and Athens' international creditors got under way on Monday night in a desperate bid by the cash-strapped nation to secure more funds to keep afloat.

The Greek finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, said the talks, although inconclusive, were "productive and substantive" and he hoped a deal might be possible sentiments that were enough to prompt a late comeback on the US stock markets.

European stock markets were down heavily, with the FTSE 100 closing down more than 100 points at 5259.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 200 points in afternoon trading amid warnings from the US Treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, that the euro crisis was affecting American business confidence, but the Dow gained about 100 points in the last hour. The oil price fell $2.20 to $85.76 in New York, while the euro dropped one point to $1.3586, approaching last week's seven-month low of $1.3495.

There was further bad news when ratings agency Standard & Poor's cut Italy's sovereign credit rating by a notch, saying that the country's economic growth prospects were getting weaker and that planned reforms by the government would not help much. S&P cut Italy's rating to A/A-1 from A+/A-1+ and said the outlook for the rating was negative, meaning it could be cut further. Continued...


Stock markets and euro slide on Greek debt fears
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