The UK’s top share index is facing its worst day since the financial crisis after it fell sharply, wiping billions off the value of major firms.
The drop follows global falls as a row between Russia and Saudi Arabia saw oil prices plunge by more than a fifth.
Shares were already reeling from fears of the impact of the coronavirus as cases globally continue to rise.
The day has been dubbed “Black Monday” by analysts who described the market reaction as “utter carnage”.
The FTSE 100 index fell more than 8% in the first few minutes of trade, before recovering slightly to stand 7% lower.
The oil price fell nearly 30% to $31.14 on Monday, its biggest single-day fall since the start of the first Gulf war in 1991, before recovering slightly to trade 20% lower.
“It shows a level of nervousness in the market which I haven’t seen in a long time,” said Justin Urquhart-Stewart, co-founder of Seven Investment Management.
Investors are selling stocks at such a rate because they cannot quantify what Saudi Arabia and Russia might do, he said.
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