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Leaders in talks on markets turmoil

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to hold a telephone conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy as stock markets around the world continue to slide on a combination of worries over the US economy and Europe's debt crisis.

Ms Merkel's office confirmed that a call with Mr Sarkozy is planned on Friday, while Germany's ARD broadcaster reported that the conference will also include Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Global stocks are facing renewed selling pressure, while the yields on 10-year Spanish and Italian bonds are ratcheting higher, up towards the 7% level that markets think are unsustainable.

The sell-off follows the biggest one-day points decline on Wall Street since the 2008 financial crisis.

Oil extended sharp losses to fall below 84 dollars a barrel amid expectations a slowing global economy will undermine demand for crude.

In Europe, major markets also fell on Thursday, and have continued the downward trend on Friday, as have those across Asia.

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