Udate: US recession fears wipe £77bn from London shares

London’s FTSE 100 fell to an 18-month low as markets took a dim view of President Bush’s plan to fight off a US downturn

About £77 billion was wiped from UK blue chip share values this morning as fears of a US recession reverberated around the globe, sending the FTSE 100 index down to its lowest level in 19 months.

London’s benchmark index of blue chips dived by as much as 324 points, sliding through the 5,600 mark for the first time since June 2006, to plumb 5,578. By late morning it had rallied slightly to 5,596, still down 306 points.

Following frenzied trading in Asia as investors drained cash from the Tokyo and Hong Kong markets, European traders joined the gloom-fest. Germany’s DAX index slumped by 381 points to 6933, while the CAC 40 in France was down 238 points at 4854.

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