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Europe Markets Flat in Absence of Turnaround Signs

Hopes were dashed Tuesday as European stocks were flat following Monday's heavy losses on Wall Street.

The losses in the U.S. Monday that pushed the Dow index below the 7,000 level for the first time in a dozen years spilled over Tuesday onto the overseas markets.

In Asia, most markets lost ground with Tokyo's Nikkei index finishing just shy of a 26-year low, down seven-tenths of a percent on the day.

The Japanese carmaker Toyota is reportedly seeking a government loan to help its financing unit. The world's largest auto producer is expected to report its first annual loss in 60 years.

In Europe, market worries remain and the major markets were mixed.

In the British auto sector, the president of GM Europe says two of its Vauxhall car factories could be forced to close if it cannot secure bail-out funds from the British government.

Interviewed on Sky News, Carl-Peter Forster says the plants in Ellesmere Port and in Luton are both highly efficient but like elsewhere, car sales are down.

"The next step would be a complete closure and that is obviously what we try to avoid," he said. "If we do not get support, ultimately we will have to close down but that is currently our primary effort. We want to avoid plant closures."

Vauxhall year-on-year sales to November were down nearly 40 percent.

On the markets, the overwhelming sentiment remains that of a global sell-down and analysts expect new lows will be probed in the near term.

Traders in Britain will be looking closely at comments Tuesday by U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner for any signs that could change the current market sentiment.