European stocks tumble on emerging currency turmoil

LONDON (AFP) - Europe's main stock markets tumbled on Friday as investors were spooked by a renewed bout of turbulence in emerging market currencies and weak Chinese manufacturing.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day down 1.62 per cent at 6,663.74 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 dropped 2.48 per cent to 9,392.02 points and the CAC 40 in Paris fell 2.79 per cent to 4,161.47 points.

Milan lost 2.3 per cent and Madrid tanked 3.6 per cent as numerous Spanish companies have investments in Argentina, whose currency plunged over 11 per cent on Thursday in its worst single-day fall in more than a decade.

"European markets fell flat on their faces as the emerging market currency rout continued, with the Argentine peso, Indian rupee, Turkish lira and South African rand all amongst the worst decliners, as economic growth concerns start to spread out beyond China," said market analyst Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK.

Asian stock markets slid on Friday, extending the previous day's losses over the first fall in Chinese manufacturing activity in six months.

Japan's Nikkei share index suffered another bruising day on Friday after the yen rallied against the dollar in New York as investors looked for safer investments.

Tokyo's main shares index tumbled 1.94 per cent, Sydney fell 0.42 per cent and Seoul lost 0.36 per cent.

US stocks also slumped, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1.10 per cent to 16,019.49 points in midday trading.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 1.16 per cent to 1,807.29, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 1.54 per cent to 4,153.89.

"Uncertainty has gripped the market, and when uncertainty does that, there is a tendency to sell first and ask questions later, particularly when the market is coming off a quarter in which it gained 10 per cent," said analyst Patrick O'Hare.