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Asian Markets Fall Over Worries About China, US Economies

Asian and European stock markets fell Monday, as investors continued selling on concerns about weak Chinese manufacturing data and the direction of the U.S. economy.

U.S. indexes were mixed in New York trading after falling sharply at the end of last week.

Japanese stocks led the losses across Asia on Monday, as the benchmark Nikkei 225 index and the Topix index both lost more than three percent. Indexes in South Korea and Australia also suffered significant losses. European markets were down less than a percentage point.

The sell-off in Asia accelerated after an HSBC Chinese manufacturing index fell to 49.2 in May, the lowest mark in at least seven months. Any number below 50 signals a contraction.

Investors are also concerned over speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve may begin scaling back its massive bond buying program aimed at stimulating the U.S. economy, after a series of positive economic reports.

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