European stock markets opened in a tailspin – after the US Federal Reserve’s announcement on Wednesday that it might scale back its bond buying programme.
A flurry of selling saw Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 drop around two percent within minutes of the markets opening.
In the UK, every company on the FTSE 100 index shed value in the first hour of trading.
Big falls, but not as sharp as the plunge in Japan on Thursday: both the Nikkei 225 and the Topix closed down around seven percent.
Asian markets tanked on the US news and data from China, showing that its manufacturing activity fell in May.