World News

US Markets Fall on Federal Budget Worries

U.S. stock markets closed lower Monday as investors worried about a budgetary impasse in Washington that threatened to partially shut down the federal government beginning Tuesday.

Hopes were fading that Congress can reach a last-minute deal and pass a stopgap budget measure to beat a midnight deadline.

President Barack Obama has warned that a freeze in non-essential federal spending could have catastrophic effects on the shaky economic recovery, and could cost thousands of jobs.

If the deadline expires without a deal, the failure will have a global impact. Oil prices slid and European and Asian shares fell, amid fears for the world's largest economy.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite were lower.

Earlier, European stock markets slid after large losses in Tokyo, as investors fretted over the U.S. and political uncertainty in Italy.

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Blessing John, who escaped from Boko Haram, hands out used clothes to internally displaced people at the Sabon Kuchigora internally displaced persons settlement on the outskirts of Abuja on December 17. (Chris Stein/VOA)

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