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European Shares Slump As Debt Concerns Persist

An employee looks at an electronic board at RTS stock exchange in Moscow on August 11.
European stock markets have slumped at the opening of trading despite yet another move to restore investor confidence.

Four eurozone countries -- Italy, France, Belgium, and Spain -- announced earlier today they would ban the short-selling of some stocks, a practice widely seen as contributing to market volatility.

Germany's Finance Ministry called for a Europe-wide ban.

In short-selling, a stock trader seeks to make a profit by betting that a certain share price will decline.

Global financial markets have fluctuated widely in recent days on fears about the spread of the eurozone debt crisis and concerns the U.S. economy may be heading into another recession.

The ban on short-selling is the latest in a flurry of moves by the U.S. and European governments to restore market confidence.

Compounding the bleak economic prospects, French official data released today showed that France's economy, the second-largest in the eurozone, had ground to a halt in the second quarter.

compiled from agency reports