Blue chip stocks hit by £64bn wipeout

More than £64 billion was wiped off the value of blue chip stocks in London today in another traumatic session sparked by fears of further bank failures across Europe

America’s agreement over a 700 billion US dollar bank bail-out did little to calm investor nerves, rattled by news of Bradford & Bingley’s nationalisation and similar government rescues on the continent.

The FTSE 100 Index closed at its lowest for nearly three-and-a-half-years, plunging 269.7 points to 4818.8 – a 5.3 per cent fall and its lowest close since April 2005.

And the pound saw its biggest one-day loss in 15 years today amid the stock market turmoil.

Even news that the Bank of England is ready to pump up to 40 billion US dollars (£22bn) extra into the financial system, to tackle “continued strains” in short-term money markets, failed to calm nerves.

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