World stocks mostly fell Friday as fears persisted over the so-called U.S. "fiscal cliff" that's seen as a big threat to the economic recovery.

By midafternoon in Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 index of leading companies was down 0.5 percent at 5,749.88 while Germany's DAX was 1.2 percent lower at 7,120.13. The CAC-40 in France slipped 0.3 percent to 3,397.53.

Asian indexes closed lower but U.S. stocks eked out some gains on the open. The Dow was up 0.1 percent to 12,826 while the broader S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent to 1,381.41.

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