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Europe offsets Asian stocks fall

Asian stocks fell but Europe regained its balance on Tuesday after several tumultuous sessions of trading sparked by the bleak US jobs picture.

Swiss shares soared after the country's central bank moved to control the strong franc.

European shares headed higher in early trading after a steep sell-off on Monday.

Asian shares faced broad-based declines earlier in the day. Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped 2.2% to close at 8,590.57 with shares of the country's powerhouse export sector skidding amid fears of another US recession.

Mainland Chinese shares lost further ground with the Shanghai's benchmark Composite Index slipping to nearly a 14-month low.

Worries over the impact of the Chinese government's credit tightening policies pulled shares in cement, food and beverage companies lower.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng registered a modest gain of 0.5% to 19,710.50. Benchmarks in India, Thailand and Indonesia also rose.

Gold shares were among the gainers , as prices hovered near record highs. The declines in Asia came a day after European shares suffered sharp losses.

Worrisome US employment figures and the possible spread of Europe's sovereign debt crisis from small economies like Greece to major ones like Italy are stoking investor fears. Greece, Ireland and Portugal have already needed to be rescued with loans from the IMF and Europe, but Italy is regarded as too large to bail out.

"People are worrying about the US economy and the worsening situation in Europe, especially Italy and Spain," said Jackson Wong, vice president of Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong. "There are very big concerns in the market that they might not contain the situation in the short term."

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