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Markets on edge after Dow plunge

LONDON (CNNMoney.com) -- Stock markets around the world retreated Friday as investors expressed nervousness after an unprecedented selloff on Wall Street that was triggered by unusual trades.

European markets dropped in morning trading and Asian shares finished the session deep in negative territory.

U.S. futures, which offer an indication of how Wall Street may open when trading begins in New York, stabilized and were higher at 4:49 a.m. ET.

Investors are rattled after technical glitches in the trading of Procter & Gamble (PG, Fortune 500) stock led to a nearly 1,000-point drop on the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average.

The plunge of 998 points was the Dow's biggest one-day point decline on an intraday basis.

The sharp and rapid drop late in the trading day Thursday triggered a wider selloff on Wall Street. However, stocks managed to pare most of those losses.

The blue-chip Dow ended Thursday's session down 348 points, or 3.2%. The broader S&P 500 finished down 3.2% and the Nasdaq posted a decline of 3.4%.

The volatile session on Wall Street led to a pullback in Europe. The CAC 40 in France sank 1.8% in early trading and Germany's DAX lost 1.1%.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.8% as investors faced the prospect of a hung Parliament after no single party won an overall majority in the United Kingdom's general election.

Exit polls predict the Conservatives are on pace to win 305 seats. However, this would be 21 short of a majority in the 650-seat House of Common.

In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei index sank 3.1%. The Shanghai Composite tumbled 1.9% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed the session down 1.1%.

The erratic trading on Wall Street on Thursday only exacerbated nervousness among investors, who have been on edge the past few weeks amid growing concerns that debt woes in Europe will slow down the global economic recovery.

Leaders of several European countries will meet Friday in Belgium to finalize the details on a financial bailout plan for Greece.

The meeting in Brussels comes a day after Greek lawmakers approved an unpopular package of austerity measures designed to help the country's battered economy.  To top of page

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