By Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers –WASHINGTON — A steep drop in stock prices worldwide, fears of an imminent wave of global debt defaults and a bevy of conflicting economic reports are producing anticipation and trepidation about Friday’s new employment data from the U.S. government.
At the close of trading Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly dropped below 10000 before closing down 268.37 points at 10002.20. Similarly, the S&P 500 fell 34.17 points to 1063.11 and the Nasdaq finished down 65.48 points at 2125.43.
Several factors spooked financial markets, chief among them fear that the inability of Greece to pay its debts may signal a coming broader trend of defaults on sovereign debt — the bonds that countries issue.
Stock markets globally took a pounding, ranging from investors’ darling Brazil , whose Bovespa exchange plunged 4.73 percent, to Germany’s DAX index, which fell 2.45 percent. Portugal’s PSI finished down 4.98 percent, and Spain’s IBEX fell 5.94 percent. The panic spread to stock exchanges in Asia as they opened early Friday, with exchanges in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo down sharply.
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