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LONDON: European and US equities slid Tuesday as investors turned cautious after recent gains, while bitcoin briefly bounced after becoming legal tender in El Salvador before slumping lower.

London stocks ended the day 0.5 percent lower, while Frankfurt fell 0.6 percent and Paris shed 0.3 percent.

"After yesterday's positive start, European markets have had an altogether softer tone on fairly light volume today," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Hewson cited German ZEW investor expectations for September which fell more than expected, and noted that investors are turning their attention to a European Central Bank meeting later this week.

"There's not been a great deal to get excited about today, with this week's ECB rate meeting looming large, and some chatter the central bank might start to look at discussing the tapering of its bond buying program when it meets on Thursday," he added.

With disappointing US job creation figures for August seen as putting off the start by the Federal Reserve of a slow wind down of its pandemic support for the economy, attention is focusing on what the ECB may do.

Wall Street was lower after US traders returned from the three-day Labor Day holiday weekend, with the Dow down 0.8 percent in midday trading.

"Despite recent optimism that Friday's poor payrolls figure will lead to delayed ... tapering, it appears US traders are less convinced of the positive implications from this economic warnings sign," said market analyst Joshua Mahony at online trading platform IG.

Cryptocurrencies selloff widens: Bitcoin down nearly 4%, ether 6%

Bitcoin hit a mid-May peak at $52,921 in Asian trade, as El Salvador became the first country in the world to accept the virtual unit as legal tender. However, it fell sharply later in European and US trade, falling below $43,000 before rebounding.

Oil meanwhile sank after Saudi Aramco cut selling prices to Asia, while the US dollar rose.

Tokyo breaks 30,000

Asian markets rose Tuesday, extending recent gains on optimism about the global outlook, though rising Delta coronavirus cases and worries about a slowdown in the economic recovery continue to cast a shadow.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 briefly broke 30,000 for the first time in five months on growing expectations for a fresh injection of stimulus after Japan's prime minister said he would step aside.

Traders were also cheered by a better-than-forecast reading on Chinese exports and imports.

The blockbuster growth that characterised the start of the year has tailed off in recent months as the Delta variant sends new infections spiking around the world, tempering consumer spending and forcing some countries to impose strict containment measures.

However, several markets have continued to press to new records or multi-year highs owing to the ultra-loose monetary policies of central banks around the world -- particularly the Fed -- that kept borrowing costs down.

While there is a general expectation that this largesse will come to an end soon as economies emerge from the pandemic crisis, officials have indicated they are in no rush to taper just yet as they track the impact of Delta.

Key figures around 1530 GMT

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.8 percent at 35,088.34 points

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.5 percent at 4,226.01

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.5 percent at 7,149.37 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.6 percent at 15,843.09 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 percent at 6,726.07 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.9 percent at 29,916.14 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.7 percent at 26,353.63 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.5 percent at 3,676.59 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1840 from $1.1870

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3782 from $1.3837

Euro/pound: UP at 85.90 pence from 85.79 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 110.24 yen from 109.86 yen

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.4 percent at $68.32 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.5 percent at $71.84 per barrel

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