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Global downturn puts investors, companies in retreat

(Reuters) – Gripped by fears that Europe’s debt crisis is driving the world economy into a ditch, companies are delaying plans to raise capital and canceling deals, while investors are taking refuge in cash or any other place they think their money will be safe.

The retreat has been so acute that yields on German two-year bonds have gone negative, meaning investors have become so wary of losses elsewhere that they are willing to pay for the privilege of lending money to the German government. Stocks and commodities have been hammered.

And with the economic picture dimming in the United States and major developing economies, including Brazil, India and China, brave is the major corporation willing to take on new workers. The pace of hiring in the United States in May was the slowest in a year.

“What we’re seeing is a sharp deterioration in economies worldwide. It’s a very unstable situation. Markets are being driven by fear, and they’re tougher to call than ever,” said Gregory Whiteley, who helps manage $35 billion at DoubleLine Capital in Los Angeles.

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