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Stocks Fall, Gold And Govt Bonds Rise After Brussels Explosions

European stocks fell on Tuesday and safe-haven assets, gold and government bonds rose in price after a series of deadly explosions in Brussels.

Travel sector stocks including airlines and hotels fell the most, pulling the broader indices down from multi-week highs as reports on the scale of the carnage in the Belgian capital unfolded.

Image: Broken windows seen at the scene of explosions
Broken windows are seen at the scene of explosions at Zaventem airport near Brussels, Belgium, on March 22, 2016. FRANCOIS LENOIR / Reuters

The cause of the blasts was unknown, but they occurred four days after the arrest in Brussels of a suspected participant in November militant attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. Belgian police had been on alert for any reprisal action.

"Anything like the events we're seeing in Brussels this morning is going to weigh on risk sentiment and risk appetite," said Michael Hewson, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in London.

In early European trade the FTSEuroFirst 300 index of leading shares was down 1 percent at 1,326 points. Germany's DAX was down 1.2 percent and Belgian stocks were down 0.8 percent.

The STOXX Europe 600 Travel & Leisure index was the top sectoral faller, down 2.2 percent. Shares in major European airlines were down as much as 4 percent , and hotel company Accor fell 4.1 percent.

Gold rose more than 1 percent to $1,257 an ounce, and the yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury and German government bonds both fell around 4 basis points to 1.88 percent and 0.19 percent.