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WORLDWIDE CHILL

It could have been worse. The Dow industrials Friday fell 312 to close at 8,306, its lowest close since April 2003. Earlier, after huge declines in Europe and Asia, Dow futures - a bet on where stocks would go - had plunged so much that trading was halted. Instead, Friday was just another day's loss, one in a series since September that have erased nearly $7-trillion in value from stocks.

Europe

Currencies, markets drop

Fears of financial collapse in Hungary, Ukraine and other eastern European economies, which have borrowed from western neighbors, sent the euro plunging against the dollar. Stock indexes in Germany and France fell about 10 percent. U.K.'s GDP fell 0.5 in the third quarter.

ASIA

Fall in exports stokes fear

Sony slashed its earnings forecast Friday and the value of the yen rose to a 13-year high against the dollar, threatening to slow exports from Japan, the world's No. 2 economy. Stock markets in Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan all fell between 8 and 10 percent.

Mideast

Oil continues slide

Trying to stop the fall in oil prices, OPEC ministers announced a 1.5-million barrel a day cut in production, but prices fell 5 percent anyway on the expectation of weakening global demand. In the U.S., demand is down 10 percent in the past four weeks compared with last year.

United States

Signs of instability

Chrysler announced that it will shed 25 percent of its salaried workforce, or about 5,000 people. Since Sept. 15, when the financial crisis first hit in earnest, the Dow industrials has lost 27 percent of its value, with the index experiencing triple-digit swings in 27 of 30 trading sessions.

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