Euro fears drive the markets into disarray.
The latest round of euro-panic has been sending the FTSE into freefall in recent weeks, and it is showing no signs of stopping, with a further fall of 2.3% today.
There's a meeting of eurozone leaders going on as we speak, in an attempt to fudge some sort of short-term remedy for the region's growing debt crisis. But few expect it to be successful, especially with French President François Hollande going head-to-head with sceptical German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the suggestion of some sort of super euro bond as the latest contrivance.
It was actually looking as if the FTSE 100 might recover a little this week, ending yesterday on 5,406, just a few points on on the start of the week. But as I write, it's lost 124 points to slump back to 5,279, well below the 5,300 level.
The 10 biggest FTSE 100 fallers, by around 3:30pm today, were as follows:
It's been banks, financials and miners leading the falls, as fears of the debt crisis spread terror among the world's banking circles.
Will they, won't they? That's the question asked about Greece's mooted exit from the euro, and mixed messages have been coming from the country. How advanced are plans to cater for a return to the drachma is really anyone's guess at this stage.
An expected fall in Chinese growth is largely behind the mining falls, as a lengthening of the slump in commodity prices is expected as an outcome.
And as for Man Group (LSE: EMG), well, it has been struggling to meet the high water mark it needs to charge top fees for its flagship hedge fund for some time now, and further fears about its ability to turn round its own investing performance coupled with outflows of cash have led to more selling of its shares.
At the other end of the table, we do have a small handful of risers, but they're not gaining much. The orthopaedics manufacturer Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN) put on 0.5% to 595p, and British Sky Broadcasting (LSE: BSY) gained the same to 694p.
The worst yet to come?
Elsewhere in the markets, the London Stock Exchange (LSE: LSE) itself is down more than 7% to 947p, after two Italian banks announced that they are to sell their stakes in it.
A month ago, commenting on April's FTSE falls, my colleague Cliff D'Arcy opined that the worst is yet to come. Are we at the bottom for Europe's stock market indexes yet? I seriously doubt it.
But at the same time, I agree that it's politics driving the charts right now, not fundamental company valuations, and I reckon there are plenty of bargains out there right now for those with a horizon of more than a couple of years. In fact, this free report is helping me pinpoint potential winners right now.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Smith & Nephew.