European shares and the euro fell on Thursday on fears the euro debt crisis is flaring up again, crimping investors' appetite for riskier assets ahead of a long holiday weekend for many global markets.
Chinese shares bucked the softer global trend, posting their biggest single-day rise since early February led by non-banking financials after Premier Wen Jiabao said the monopoly formed by the country's big banks needed to be broken to get money flowing to cash-starved private firms.
Global stocks dropped more than 1% and gold tumbled to its lowest in nearly three months on Wednesday as euro zone worries, centred on Spain's public and private sector debt burdens, added to concerns that markets won't get another round of monetary stimulus from the US Federal Reserve.
Lower-rated euro zone government bonds remained under pressure, supporting safe-haven German debt and US Treasuries, but the sell-off in global stocks paused before US non-farm payrolls data on Friday.
Data showing British factory output suffered its biggest monthly fall in almost a year in February did little to soothe fears about the economic recovery in Europe though its impact on European shares was limited.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.5%, pulling the MSCI world equity index down 0.1%.
"There is still worry about Spain and it is a four-day weekend and investors do not want to be long going into it as they do not know what potential news could come out," Will Hedden, sales trader at IG Index, said.
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