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updated: 8/30/2011 7:31 AM

Business, consumer optimism slips in Europe

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FRANKFURT, Germany -- Business and consumer optimism in the 17 countries that use the euro fell in August, reinforcing fears that the eurozone economy will slow in the months ahead.

The European Union's economic sentiment index issued Tuesday fell 4.7 points to 98.3, below its long-term average of 100.

The reasons for the drop included gloomier views of the future among retailers, and among consumers afraid of losing their jobs.

Economists and government officials say financial market ups and downs caused by fears of government debt defaults are starting to weighing on the economy.