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European Stocks Set to Fall as Recession Fears Grow

European shares were expected to continue a torrid start to 2008 by falling early on Friday as fears of a U.S. recession grew, oil prices fell, and government bonds surged overnight before steadying.

Bookmakers saw Britain's FTSE 100 opening 32 to 45 points lower, Germany's DAX down 25 to 38 points and France's CAC 40 down 22 to up 3 points.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares has lost 8.8 percent so far this year after eking out a 1.6-percent gain in the whole of 2007, itself a poor performance compared with the previous year.