23 Oct 2008

Europe shares down again

9:41 am on 23 October 2008

European shares slumped again on Wednesday, led by bank and energy stocks.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended down 5.5% at 873.30 points. The index has lost around 18% to date this month.

Banks were most affected: Spain's largest bank, Santander, fell 10.5% on concerns over Latin American economies. Spain's second-biggest bank, BBVA, was down 5.5%.

The Spanish stock index closed down 8.16% at 8,995.30 points.

In Paris, the CAC 40 fell 5.10% to 3,298.18 while in Frankfurt, the Dax fell 4.46% to 4,571.07.

In London, the FTSE 100 index shed 4.46% to close at 4,040.89. The index is down 37.4% for the year to date.

BP, Total and Shell were down more than 5% as oil slid $US4 to almost $US68 a barrel.

Hungary raised interest rates to defend its economy, Ukraine sought IMF help and Argentina moved to nationalise the country's private pension system.

Wall Street

Wall Steet was also down. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 514.45 points, or 5.69%, to 8,519.21.

Standard & Poor's 500 Index slid 58.27 points, or 6.1%, to 896.78 - its lowest closing level since April 2003.

The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 80.93 points, or 4.77%, to 1,615.75 - its lowest level since June 2003.

Markets in Asia fell sharply on Tuesday. In Japan, the Nikkei fell by almost 7%.