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EUROPE DEBT WORRIES PERSIST

Associated Press

NEW YORK - Stocks fell Friday, erasing a weekly gain, as banks slid amid concern about Europe's debt crisis and closer government scrutiny.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.8 percent to 1,337.77, leaving it down 0.2 percent on the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 100.17 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,595.75. The Nasdaq composite index fell 34.57 points, or 1.2 percent, closing at 2,828.47. Stocks extended losses as the Dollar Index rallied, gaining 0.7 percent.

U.S. data showed that the cost of living climbed in April by 0.4 percent, led by gains in food and fuel prices. That follows a 0.5 percent gain in March.

Reports in Europe earlier showed Germany and France powered economic growth in the euro area in the first quarter as booming exports fueled domestic spending in the bloc's core, offsetting sovereign debt concerns.

The view that "the West is in trouble" is wrong when nations including Germany, Sweden and Canada are performing strongly, said Jim O'Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Investors should "stop worrying so much," he said.

Germany is waiting for the conclusion of a European and International Monetary Fund mission to Greece before making any decision on whether further steps may need to be taken to help the first victim of the debt crisis, a German government spokesman said.

Germany, the European Commission and the IMF back an extension of maturities on Greek bonds because of the worsening deficit situation in Greece.

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