European shares sank further on Wednesday in highly volatile trade, despite coordinated rate cuts by top central banks.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares, closed unofficially down 6.1% at 941.93 points - its lowest close since 17 December, 2003.
The European index was down nearly 8% in early trade, then recouped most of its losses following the rate cuts, only to fall again late in the day. Banking stocks were hit the most.
The US Federal Reserve led a round of cuts and eased by half a point, as did the European Central Bank. The Bank of England and central banks in Switzerland, Canada and Sweden also cut their rates.
In Paris, the CAC 40 fell 6.39% to 3,493.70 points. In Frankfurt, the DAX lost 5.88% to 5,013.62 points.
The Swiss Market Index was down 5.51%, Madrid was down 5.2% and Milan was down by 5.71%.
In Britain, the FTSE 100 index shed 5.18% in turbulent trade to finish at 4,366.69 points.
Stocks in the United States fell for a sixth consecutive session on Wednesday.
Based on the latest available data, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 191.00 points, or 2.02%, to end unofficially at 9,256.11.
Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 11.37 points, or 1.14%, to finish unofficially at 984.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 14.55 points, or 0.83%, to close unofficially at 1,740.33.
In New Zealand, the NZX50 index closed down 1.9%, bringing its drop to 9.3% in the past four trading days.