The Dow Jones opened more than 5% down this morning as investors feared a lasting global recession following the release of poor economic data across Europe and Asia.
The main Wall Street index made a slight recovery after opening losses, down 345.91 points (3.98%) to 8,345.34.
Oil firms were hit by the continuing fall in oil prices despite news OPEC will cut production, and Chevron lost 5.14% to $63.34, while Exxon Mobil's share price was trimmed 4.82% to $67.00.
Financials also suffered, with AIG down 10.48% to $1.88 and Bank of America dropped 5.39% to $21.76.
The FTSE100 failed to rise above 4,000 in the afternoon as investors digested the poor economic news and the index remained down 251.23 points (6.15%) at 3,836.6.
Banks saw some of the biggest losses, with HSBC dropping 14.91% to 685p, while Barclays slumped 14.18% to 187.3p. Eurasian saw the biggest losses after shares fell 19.31% to 317.5p.
BHP Billiton was the only major share to have made gains by late-afternoon, adding 0.73% to 829p.
On the continent, Paris’ CAC 40 fell 6.17% while the Frankfurt Dax lost 7.56%.IFAonline
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Fine reduced to £60,000
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