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Global Stock Markets Decline on Profit Worries

Stock prices are falling on major U.S., European, and Asian markets Tuesday as worries about lower company profits overcome the boost from China's large new stimulus plan.

Tokyo's share prices fell after several firms, including Toyota and Citizen - the world's largest watchmaker - lowered profit forecasts. European markets are down around 3 percent in afternoon trading.

U.S. investors are worried by the bankruptcy of the second largest U.S. electronic retailer, Circuit City, and concerned by predictions of lower earnings for General Motors and investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is trying to help the fourth-largest U.S. credit card company by allowing it to become a commercial bank. Bank status will give the American Express company greater access to funds and allow it to participate in the government's $700 billion financial rescue program. Amex has been hurt as customers fell behind on payments.

In a further sign of a faltering global economy, Chinese officials said slow domestic growth reduced the demand for imports in October, leading to a record trade surplus of more than $35 billion. China's inflation rate also fell in October, a further sign of a slowing Chinese economy

The poor earnings outlook and recession fears also caused a drop in oil prices Tuesday. Oil hovered near an 18-month low of around $60 a barrel.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.