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Stocks fall on European fears

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Growing worries about Europe’s debt crisis sent U.S. stock markets down on Tuesday morning.

The declines came after a weekend of turmoil that sent many European markets down more than 5% on Monday, when U.S. exchanges were closed. On Tuesday, leading indexes were down 1% in Spain and 0.6% in Germany.

In early trading Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 212.59 points, or 1.9%, to 11,027.67.

Indexes briefly reclaimed some of their early losses when a report released at 7 a.m. EDT showed that non-manufacturing businesses were expanding in August more than economists expected and more than a month earlier. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of non-manufacturing businesses rose to 53.3 on a scale in which anything above 50 indicates expansion.

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But that was not enough to counter signs that European leaders may not be able to contain the damage from economic problems in the continent’s weaker countries, such as Italy and Greece. Both countries have struggled to implement austerity plans that could help them to rein in ballooning debt.

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-- Nathaniel Popper in New York
Twitter.com/nathanielpopper

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