World markets retreat amid growing corporate woes (AP)

Investors discuss at a private securities company Friday, Jan. 23, 2009, in Shanghai, China. Asian stock markets fell Friday, with Japan's benchmark tumbling almost 4 percent, as grim news about major companies like Microsoft and Sony underscored the depth of the worst global slowdown in decades. Ever major market in the region retreated, giving up most of the gains from the previous session when investors shrugged off gloomy economic data about China and Japan and sent stocks higher. Shanghai's benchmark was down 0.7 percent. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)AP – Asian stocks fell Friday, with Japan’s benchmark tumbling almost 4 percent, as grim news about major companies like Microsoft and Sony underscored the depth of the worst global slowdown in decades. European markets fell in early trade amid news the British economy had officially slid into recession.

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