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Asian Stocks Claw Back From from Opening Bell Panic


Asian markets endured another up and down trading day Thursday, as investors dealt with more bad news about the struggling global economy.

Japan's main Nikkei index opened nearly two percent below Wednesday's close, but recovered to end the day down by more than half of one percent. Indexes in South Korea and Australia also rebounded from their opening bell losses.

Global markets posted significant gains earlier this week after the Federal Reserve, the U.S. central bank, announced it would keep its key interest rate between zero and one-quarter of a percent until at least 2013. But new concerns about weak economic growth in the U.S. and reports that France might lose its top AAA credit rating wiped out those gains.

In New York on Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 5 percent while the S&P and NASDAQ indexes also were down sharply. Major European indexes in London, Paris, and Frankfurt also fell as much as 5 percent.

Also Wednesday, the Fitch rating agency downgraded Cyprus government bonds two notches, following similar moves last month by Moody's and Standard & Poor's. Fitch also said Cyprus may have to seek an international economic bailout.

Global markets have sustained several days of steep losses due to growing concerns about the eurozone debt crisis, and the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor's rating agency.

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