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Eurostocks sink 3 percent on madrid blasts

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Eurostocks Sink 3 Pct on Madrid Blasts
Thu Mar 11, 2004 06:50 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares sank three percent by late morning on Thursday after Arnaldo Otegi, a Basque nationalist leader, said he did not believe ETA was responsible for a series of blasts in Madrid that have killed at least 131 people.
Otegi said the attacks could have been "an operation by sectors of the Arab resistance," raising fears in financial markets the blasts were the work of al Qaeda.

"We were down on the back of Wall Street first thing, and then with this thinking that maybe ETA's not responsible for this but it may be Al Qaeda or another terrorist group, the market's really suffered a lot of downwards momentum," said one dealer.

By 6:43 a.m. EST, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 index was down 3.2 percent at 2,827 points.

"That ETA is possibly not behind these attacks is putting additional strain on the markets," said one German trader.

The FTSE Eurotop 300 index was off 2.7 percent at 985 points.

In Frankfurt, the DAX was off 3.6 percent, while the Paris CAC-40 dropped 3.3 percent. Madrid's IBEX blue-chip index fell 2.6 percent.

U.S. stock index futures were down by about 0.8 percent, indicating that Wall Street was headed for its fourth down day.

8m people march [jpg]
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