The Dow Jones fell to its lowest level in more than six years last night as some US banks plummeted.
It closed almost 1.2% down at 7,465.95 - its lowest since 9 October 2002 when it plunged to 7,215 - on fears US government efforts to rescue the financial system will prove inadequate.
Shares in Bank of America, Citigroup and American Express led the sell-off, with falls of 14%, 13.75% and 8.72% respectively.
Hewlett Packard also suffered - sliding almost 8% to 31.39 - after posting a 13% fiscal first-quarter earnings drop in some of its key business outlets.
In the UK the FTSE 100 responded to the sentiment and, shortly before 9.30am, was itself approaching a 52-week low. It is currently toying with 3,800, less than 200 points off a 12 month bottom of 3,665.21.
Miners are so far the biggest weight on the index with Rio Tinto falling 8% and Anglo American shedding 152p, or over 12%, off its share price. The firm has announced it is suspending its dividend and share buyback programme and will cut another 9,000 jobs after reporting a 1.1% fall in pre-tax profits.IFAonline
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