A day after being roiled by Portuguese bank scare, markets steady


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LONDON — Global stocks steadied somewhat Friday after slumping on worries about the soundness of a bank in Portugal, while trading in Asia was muted over the specter of more financial turmoil in Europe.

Markets worldwide had fallen Thursday because of jitters about the financial stability of Portugal's Espirito Santo International, which reportedly missed a debt payment this week and was cited for accounting irregularities, echoing issues that sparked Europe's debt crisis four years ago.

"After a hairy day of mild panic surrounding a Portuguese bank and the potential effects of contagion, markets are calm today," said David White, a trader at Spreadex.

In Europe, Germany's DAX was down 0.3 percent at 9,630 while the CAC-40 was flat at 4,301. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.1 percent at 6,667.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.2 percent at 16,881 while the broader S&P 500 index fell the same rate to 1,962.

The S&P is poised for its biggest weekly loss since April after closing out the previous week at a record high. As well as worries over the Portuguese bank, stocks have retreated from all-time highs as investors worried the rally may have overreached.

Elsewhere in Asia, most markets fell in the slipstream of the previous day's declines in Europe and the U.S. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.3 percent to 15,164.04 and South Korea's Kospi fell 0.7 percent to 1,988.74. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed nearly flat at 23,233.45.

Australia and China were exceptions, with Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 adding 0.4 percent to 5,486.80 and the Shanghai Composite up 0.4 percent to 2,046.96.

In currency markets, the mood was subdued with the euro steady at $1.3606 and the dollar flat at 101.28 yen.

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