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European markets close down amid investor anxiety

The FTSE 100 has fallen by 1.9 per cent today as markets react badly to the first round of the French election battle.

President Nicolas Sarkozy (pictured) narrowly lost the first round of France’s presidential election to socialist Francois Hollande.

At close, the FTSE 100 was down 1.9 per cent at 5665.57.

Over the course of the day, it did fall over 2 per cent. At 16.08, the FTSE 100 stood at 5646.86, a fall of 2.17 per cent. European markets also nosedived in early trades with the French Cac 40 and the German Dax down 2.9 and 3.5 per cent respectively.

Sarkozy and Hollande face a second round of voting on May 6. While Sarkozy has called for more austerity measures to bring down the level of debt Hollande has argued stimulating growth is a better option. The latter view has raised concern that France would struggle to control its debt should Hollande defeat Sarkozy.

Markets were also unnerved by the failure of Dutch government to agree on austerity measures, raising the prospects of fresh elections in the country, while poor manufacturing data from China is has also hit the mining sector.


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