Growth fears pressure world's stock markets

It's raining bad news on the global economy

World stock markets were pressured Monday, with Asia taking the heaviest hit, as investors worried about signs of a sharp global economic slowdown.

Traders shrugged off news that an investigation found no evidence of collusion between US President Donald Trump's election campaign and Russia.

The pound gave up earlier gains to trade lower against the euro and the dollar after Prime Minister Theresa May admitted Monday she still had not secured the votes needed to get her Brexit deal through parliament, again raising the prospect Britain could crash out of the European Union in two weeks' time.

Dealers have been spooked by growing evidence of a slowdown, after a broad-based rally since the start of the year that was built on hopes for China-US trade talks and a more dovish Federal Reserve.

"Concerns over the health of the global economy heat up at a rapid pace," said analyst Jameel Ahmad at traders FXTM.

In Europe key stock markets were lower at the close, with London the weakest performer.

Wall Street finished a choppy session little changed, with little impact from the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report which failed to tie Trump and his campaign to conspiring with Russia to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

"We have rarely if ever commented on the investigation as it has never been seen as a market moving event," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National.

"We do not see that changing with the release of the findings."

Apple declined 1.3 percent after product launches that included a game subscription service and a news service, in addition to a subscription streaming service to compete with Netflix, Amazon and other tech giants.

- Nikkei slumps -

Tokyo's main stock index was hammered 3.0 percent, while Hong Kong and Shanghai each dived two percent, as concerns festered also over a possible recession in the United States, dealers said.

US and European equities had tumbled Friday as the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds fell below those for three-month bills -- for the first time since before the global financial crisis.

This so-called inverted yield curve shows investors are more willing to buy long-term debt -- usually considered higher risk -- as they consider the short-term outlook more risky.

"This development will psychologically encourage further anxiety and rocket fears that the global economy is heading for another downturn, if recent economic releases across the globe have not already provided indications that the downturn has arrived," said analyst Ahmad.

The yield curve is closely watched since it has inverted prior to recessions in recent decades.

- Key figures around 2100 GMT -

New York - DOW: UP 0.1 percent at 25,516.83 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 2,798.36 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent at 7,637.54 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 percent at 7,177.58 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 11,346.65 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 5,260.64 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,300.48 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 3.0 percent at 20,977.11 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 2.0 percent at 28,523.35 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 2.0 percent at 3,043.03 (close)

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3198 from $1.3209 at 2100 GMT on Friday

Euro/pound: UP at 85.71 pence from 85.59 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1313 at $1.1302

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.96 yen from 109.92 yen

Oil - Brent Crude: UP 18 cents at $67.21 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 22 cents at $58.82 per barrel

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