FTSE 100 enters bear market after £50bn wiped off value of UK’s biggest companies

The FTSE 100 has now officially entered a bear market, with prices 20.1 per cent lower than their post crisis peak

The FTSE 100 entered a bear market on Wednesday after it declined in value by more than 20 per cent since post-crisis highs seen last April.

The index of the 100 biggest UK companies hit a three-year low of 5,688.92 points, knocking 3.2 per cent off its value, or the equivalent of almost £50 billion.

The slide comes after a difficult start to the year that has seen the index lose more than 500 points in three weeks.

Mining stocks led the losses after BHP Billiton said that it did not expect iron ore or coal prices to pick up soon because of lower demand from China.

BHP Billiton stock was down 6.5 per cent, dragging Glencore, Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Antofagasta all down more than 2 per cent.

Brent crude oil also dropped more than 3 per cent, towards $27 a barrel, its lowest since 2003.

The FTSE 100 would join the French CAC, the German Dax and the Shanghai Composite in bear market territory. Japan slipped into bear territory after the Nikkei closed down 3.7 per cent.

Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment for stockbroker Interactive Investor, said that hopes of a rebound had been squashed.

“Ugly; very very ugly, describes current equity markets, with momentum swinging negative yet again and the bears firmly in control,” O’Keeffe said.

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