Shares in Britain fell for the fifth consecutive session on Tuesday, led by banks on worries over the impact of the economic downturn on their earnings.
The FTSE 100 closed down 27.04 points, or 0.6%, at 4,399.15, after losing 0.5% on Monday. The index lost more than 31% last year.
Barclays was the biggest faller, shedding more than 10%. Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS, Lloyds TSB and Standard Chartered lost between 3.7% - and 7.1%.
Insurers also fell: Friends Provident was down 8.9% and Aviva by 8.2%.
Sterling fell to its lowest level in almost 14 years against the yen.
European shares also ended lower on Tuesday.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 1.5% at 840.36 points.
In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 4,636.94 points, down 82.68 or 1.75%. In Paris, the CAC-40 index closed at 3,197.89 points, down 48.23 or 1.49%. The Swiss market index closed at 5,534.33 points, down 57.46 or 1.03%.
In Japan, the Nikkei index fell 422.89 points, 4.8%, to 8,413.91 - its lowest close since 12 December and its third consecutive day of losses.
Shares in Hong Kong closed 2.2% lower. The Hang Seng index ended down 302.955 points at 13,668.0, extending its fall to the sixth consecutive trading session.
In Australia, shares ended down 0.8%. The S&P/ASX 200 index lost 28.7 points to close at 3,654.6.