Euro shares suffer worst falls on record

After a sharp opening rise, European stocks plummeted to four-year lows with the FTSEeurofirst losing 7.4 per cent - beating the 6.3 per cent drop after the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001.


European shares suffered their worst one-day percentage fall on record on Monday, sinking to 4-year closing lows as investors dumped shares across the board and Wall Street slumped.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 7.4 percent to a provisional close of 1,008.86 points, beating a 6.3-percent fall on Sept. 11, 2001, the day terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center buildings in New York.

The index briefly slid below the 1,000 mark for the first time since late 2004 shortly after the Dow Jones industrial average slipped below 10,000 points on Wall Street.

"It's just in free fall. The outlook is still very bearish and we are nowhere near the bottom. There is no reason to buy anything at the moment. The bid-offer spread is huge," said Nicole Elliott, a technical analyst with Mizuho Securities.

Banks and commodity shares took most points off the index, with Royal Bank of Scotland sliding 20 percent, Barclays losing 13.8 percent and UBS falling 12.4 percent.

BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell fell 7.7-8.9 percent.

"People have decided that markets have no ability to repair themselves and politicians have control of this process," said John Haynes, strategist at Rensburg Sheppard Investment Management.

"The buyers have stepped away, and the sellers are still there."


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