London’s benchmark FTSE 100 Index tumbled below the 6,000 mark as fresh volatility hit markets across Europe after a concerted sell-off among miners.
Commodity stocks led the rout after a series of broker downgrades amid fears over the pace of Chinese growth.
Disappointing figures for UK borrowing and a CBI survey suggesting manufacturing growth has stalled added to the stock market woes in London, with the Footsie closing down 2.8 per cent or 172.87 points at 5,935.84.
The Dax in Germany dropped 3.8 per cent and France’s Cac 40 was 3.4 per cent lower as European markets were also hit by the escalating Volkswagen emissions rigging scandal, which one market analyst described as an “auto sector shaking incident”.
Tony Cross. market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “It’s been a punishing day for equity markets. The on-going slump in commodity prices is certainly driving a large slice of the losses in London, but further afield it’s car manufacturers that are under pressure amidst concern as to just how widespread the issue of incorrect emissions readings as posted by Volkswagen may yet prove to be.”
Mining group Glencore was the biggest faller in the top flight, down almost 11 per cent or 12.7p to 106.4p, with Anglo American off 46.8p at 648.1p.
RSA Insurance was the only riser in the top flight as it edged 2.9p higher to 406.2p after losing more than a fifth of its value on Monday after rival Zurich pulled out of a £5.6 billion takeover.
A raft of stocks were lower in the second tier amid profit warnings and disappointing results. All Bar One owner Mitchells and Butlers was 7 per cent or 24.2p down at 327.2p after revealing it was replacing chief executive Alistair Darby as it warned weak trading would leave full-year profits at the bottom end of market expectations.