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Financial Markets Continue Downward Spiral

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

The downward trend in global markets continued today. Asian markets plummeted and European stocks are also down in early trading. And we have a report this morning from Eleanor Beardsley who is in Paris.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: Asian electronics giants Sony and Samsung signaled trouble for the entire sector as they revised down profit forecasts. The companies depend heavily on consumer spending in the United States and Europe. Declining consumer demand is also putting a dent in the European auto industry. French carmakers Renault and Peugeot both announced two-week production shutdowns at sites across France. Analyst Yves Marcais at Global Equities in Paris says markets are unpredictable now as the financial crisis infests the real economy.

YVES MARCAIS: In Europe, we have seen since last week a lot of profit warning on the car sector. Now it's not just a question of finance crisis but it's also an economic crisis.

BEARDSLEY: And no one seems to be spared. Over the weekend, the International Monetary Fund poured billions into two faltering economies in Eastern Europe. Ukraine received a $16 billion loan, and Hungary is also in line for a substantial assistance package to help cushion the impact of the coming economic storm. For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Beardsley in Paris. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Eleanor Beardsley
Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.