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Global stocks stumble on Spain attacks, White House turmoil

LONDON (AFP) - 

Global stock markets sank Friday as traders sought haven investments such as gold following a terror attack in Barcelona that sent airline share prices down.

The deadly attack Thursday in the Spanish city compounded investors' concerns over economic policy paralysis in Washington.

"The recent shift towards haven markets continues," said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG trading group.

"While the week started well, we are now seeing widespread selling for global stocks, with traders instead choosing to shift their focus towards the likes of gold and the yen," he added.

Gold, seen as a store of value in uncertain times, jumped back above $1,300 per ounce for the first time in nine months, while the yen strengthened against the dollar and struck a near-seven week high against the euro.

Madrid shed 0.5 percent and London fell 0.9 percent.

Tourism-related stocks took a hit after the attacks. Air France-KLM shed 1.6 percent and IAG, which owns British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, fell 2.0 percent. InterContinental Hotels Group gave up 1.6 percent.

Wall Street stocks closed lower for the second day, after making a brief try at a rebound, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.35 percent and the broader S&P 500 Index losing 0.2 percent.

US investors remain concerned about US President Donald Trump's agenda for tax reform and other pro-business measures, as his support from corporate America has evaporated following his heavily criticized response to a white supremacist rally in Virginia last weekend.

The White House turmoil continued Friday with the ouster of controversial adviser Steve Bannon -- the fifth high-profile casualty in Trump's inner circle in just six months. That came after rumors Thursday that Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn would resign, which the White House denied but not before the news hit the markets.

"Although it is far too early to say whether global equities will be staging a sharp correction in the coming days, things don?t look pretty on Wall Street at the moment," said market analyst Fawad Razaqzada at Forex.com.

Earlier in Asian trading, Tokyo led the fall in regional stocks, slumping to its lowest close since early May, with the Nikkei also struggling in the face of the resurgent yen.

- Key figures around 2100 GMT -

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.35 percent to 21,674.51 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.2 percent to 2,425.55 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent to 6,216.53 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.9 percent at 7,323.98 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 percent at 12,165.19 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 percent at 5,114.15 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,448.49

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.2 percent at 19,470.41 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.1 percent at 27,047.57 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP less than 0.1 percent at 3,268.72 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1762 from $1.1724 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2885 from $1.2867

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.22 yen from 109.51 yen

Oil - Brent North Sea: UP $1.69 to $52.72 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.42 to $48.51

burs-hs/dw

© 2017 AFP