A dismal Christmas sales report has smashed Marks and Spencer this morning, dragging the FTSE 100 down 91.70 points (1.44%) to 6264.80 so far.
The predicted gloom for Marks and Spencer came true, with UK like-for-like sales down by 2.2% in the 13 weeks to 29 December. M&S is currently down 19.07% to 407.50.
TUI Travel is also being pounded, down 8.63% to 233 and Home Retail is leading the sharp across the board decline for retailers, 7.17% lower to 265.25.
Miners are keeping the FTSE somewhat grounded, with Lonmin 2.05% up, to 3329; while British American Tobacco is currently 1.78% ahead to 2003.
In New York, the Dow Jones plummeted in late Tuesday trading as news of a consumer credit hike rattled investors. The index closed 238.42 point lower (1.86%) to 12589.07.
Alcoa led the losses as it prepared to be the first large company to start the quarterly reporting season. The aluminium maker closed 6.37% lower to 31.
Hewlett Packard dipped 4.76% to 43.19; while a report of consumer business weakness smacked AT&T, which fell 4.56% to 39.16.
Drug giant Merck and tobacco dealer Altria had built up solid gains but also lost substantial ground in the final hour of trading. Merck finished up 3% to 59.66 and Altria closed 1.41% higher to 78.32.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei bounced back as investors took advantage of buying opportunities in the wake of the recent slump. The index finished Wednesday up 70.49 yen (0.49%) to 14,599.16.
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