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Global stocks slide as yen, euro gains question policy thrust

A worker shelters from the rain as he passes the London Stock Exchange in the City of London at lunchtime October 1, 2008.

The dollar slid to its lowest against major currencies in well over a year on Tuesday, a move led by further gains in the yen that threw an uncomfortable spotlight on central banks' attempts to boost growth through aggressive policy easing.

Australia's central bank joined the growing line of those adding stimulus, surprising many investors by cutting interest rates to a record low of 1.75 percent. That hit the currency but lifting the country's shares.

Almost every other major stock market around the world fell. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS hit a three-week low, Europe's major indices shed as much as 2 percent and emerging market stocks fell 1.2 percent .MSCIEF.

U.S. futures pointed to a fall of almost 1 percent at the open on Wall Street ESc1.

European financials fell more than 3 percent, hit by a string of weak first quarter earnings reports from banks and the euro's burst EUR= to an eight-month high above $1.16. European bank stocks are down more than 20 percent so far this year.

Shares in German...