Global stocks plunged on Friday on the increasing prospect of a sharp economic downturn, with attention focused on US jobs data, widely expected to deepen the gloom of flagging growth and eurozone debt. European stock markets initially dived 3.0-4.0 percent after heavy falls in Asia and on Wall Street as traders nervously awaited vital US employment figures for July due at 1230 GMT and wondered whether a so-called double-dip recession was in sight. However losses were less acute by midday, while Milan and Madrid managed to eke out modest gains on rumours that the European Central Bank was preparing to buy hard-hit Spanish and Italian bonds. London\'s benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 2.62 percent after initial losses of more than 3.0 percent, which had sent it to levels last seen 11 months ago. Frankfurt slid 2.35 percent and Paris lost 1.16 percent. Milan and Madrid rose 0.45 and 0.40 percent respectively.