The Footsie suffered its first triple-digit fall in six months as the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) latest attempt to stimulate the economy was judged woefully inadequate.
The ECB’s reluctance to launch a full-blown programme of quantitative easing provided some support to the ailing euro, but it came at shareholders’ expense.
Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: “Following the latest ECB press conference and [ECB chief] Mario Draghi’s Q&A session European equity markets have shown how uninspired they are, falling across the board.”
The FTSE 100 Index plunged 111.13 points to 6,446.39, its fourth negative day in a row, with the rout gathering momentum as the session progressed.
There was no respite for Britain’s beleaguered supermarket sector, with Sainsbury’s shares 9.2p lower at 224.8p after their 7 per cent slump in the previous session on the back of declining sales figures.
Tesco continued to be hit by speculation that it will tap its banks for a new finance facility in order to withstand the current trading crisis. Its shares were 2p lower at 178.2p, while Morrisons was down 1p at 158.9p.
Tui Travel lost an initial gain seen when it said it now expects full-year underlying profits growth of at least 9 per cent in the year to 30 September, against its previous guidance of between 7 per cent and 10 per cent. But with the mood against them Tui’s shares were down 2.5p to 380.1p.
Outside the FTSE 100 Index, fashion retailer Ted Baker was on the front foot as it eased fears about the impact of recent warm weather by reporting a strong performance from its autumn and winter collections at the start of its second half year. With half-year profits up by a third, shares rose 11p to 1,873p.