Europe growth fears sink euro, global stocks

Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:22pm EDT
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By Luciana Lopez

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors pushed global equities and the euro lower on Monday as Dutch political turmoil and disappointing euro zone data revived fears the region's debt crisis could keep much of Europe mired in recession through the year.

Shares of Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, and its Mexican subsidiary, Walmex, sank on a report of bribery allegations.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte tendered his government's resignation on Monday in a crisis over budget cuts, creating a political vacuum in a country that strongly backed an EU fiscal treaty and lectured Greece on getting its finances in order.

The crisis in the Netherlands - traditionally one of the euro zone's most stable members - added to uncertainties after Socialist challenger Francois Hollande led President Nicolas Sarkozy in the first round of French presidential elections.

Data showing a slump in the euro zone's private sector in April dampened hopes the region will emerge from recession soon.

U.S. stocks fell more than 1 percent on the euro zone anxiety before recovering slightly.

"Clearly there is political uncertainty, but what always magnifies or amplifies political uncertainty is when there is growth uncertainty as well," said Paul Zemsky, head of asset allocation at ING in New York. "It's the worst of both worlds today."

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote) sank 4.66 percent after The New York Times reported company officials stymied an internal investigation of allegations of extensive bribery at its Mexican subsidiary, Walmart de Mexico WALMEXV.MX, known as Walmex.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) September 12, 2011. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid