LONDON (AFP) - World stock markets had mixed fortunes Friday, with fearful investors groping for direction at the end of a mad month of wild volatility and huge losses amid fears a deep recession lies ahead. Equities in Frankfurt, London, New York and Paris have all plunged by between 15-17 percent since the beginning of October and Tokyo has lost about one quarter of its value. "Today is month end, bringing to an end one of the most volatile months for financial markets in recent history," said Barclays Capital analyst David Woo. "The concerns about the US economy and the global banking crisis remain." Jeffrey Dawkins, Chief Investment Officer at US-based asset managers The FQ Group, said in a note to clients: "October is historically a good month for the markets. After a month like this, who needs a bad month?" Global stock markets struggled to recover on Friday, despite continued efforts by policymakers to tackle a credit crunch, with Japan joining an international interest rate-cutting campaign. US shares were mixed at the open as the market digested strong gains over the week and mulled the latest data showing more caution by American consumers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.15 percent to 9,194.70 points in highly tentative early trading after a 189-point rally Thursday. The Nasdaq composite retreated 0.67 percent to 1,687.18. Sentiment was affected by news that American consumers cut spending by a sharp 0.3 percent in September in the face of intense financial market turmoil. A Commerce Department report said the drop in cosumer spending " which accounts for two-thirds of US economic activity " came even as incomes rose 0.2 percent. The spending decline was the steepest since June 2004 and sharper than the average 0.2 percent fall expected by private economists. "Investor sentiment has been on the mend for the past three days, with demand for riskier assets growing as the financial crisis recedes," said Chris Lafakis at Moody's Economy.com. "Yet the crisis has not fully passed and sentiment has not fully recovered." In Europe, London's FTSE 100 index fell 1.44 percent and Paris 0.75 percent, while Frankfurt eked out a gain of 0.73 percent in mid-afternoon trade. London investors digested news that British bank Barclays was to raise 11.7 billion dollars (9.3 billion euros), mostly from oil-rich investors in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, to bolster its finances amid the global credit crunch. The new capital means that Barclays will not have to receive funding from the British government, unlike some of its competitors. British telecoms operator BT Group saw its share price collapse by more than a quarter after it issued a surprise profits warning, saying that second-quarter earnings would fall short of expectations. Shares in French cosmetics giant L'Oreal also slumped in response to a sliding third-quarter sales and a profit warning because of the economic downturn. Shares fell sharply in Tokyo, down 5.0 percent, even though Japan's central bank cut its super-low interest rates for the first time in seven years " by 20 basis points to 0.3 percent. Hong Kong closed down 2.5pc as investors locked in recent sharp gains sparked by hopes that the credit crunch was easing. "The rally is seen to be over," said Francis Lun, general manager at Fulbright Securities in Hong Kong. "It's time to take profit." The mood was brighter in other parts of Asia. Seoul rose 2.6 percent, Taipei added almost 4.0 percent and Sydney edged up 0.4 percent. India gained 8.22 percent on hopes of a rate cut from India's central bank. This week, central banks from the United States to Asia have lowered borrowing costs as part of concerted efforts to avert a financial system meltdown.