Fresh fears of a slowdown in the world’s biggest economy triggered a sell-off that wiped 1% off London’s leading shares index today.
The FTSE 100 Index fell 60.6 points to 5,809 after a raft of gloomy figures from across the Atlantic.
There were also renewed concerns about the eurozone debt crisis after figures suggested Spain’s economy had entered recession for the second time in three years.
The heavily-weighted mining sector bore the brunt of the sell-off, with Vedanta Resources 72p lower at £12.32, Evraz off 21p at 359.8p and Antofagasta down 64p at £11.18.
Insurers were among the biggest fallers after Lloyd’s of London reported losses of £516million.
RSA was the biggest top flight loser in the sector, off 7.5%, or 8.7p at 107.1p, while Prudential dropped 29p to 768.5p.
Outside the top flight, tour operator Thomas Cook lost earlier gains after it said summer bookings had improved in the last few weeks, thanks to improvements to websites and a new advertising campaign.
Shares in the 170-year-old company were 0.5p lower at 22.8p and are now some 90% lower than they were a year ago.
Meanwhile, floor tiling retailer Topps Tiles fell 1.8p, or 4% to 38p after it said trading continued to decline in the three months to March 31.
Domino’s Pizza was down 5%, or 25.5p to £4.46 after it revealed a slowdown in sales growth in the first three months of the year.
Elaine McLachlan, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Inverness, noted Parkmead Group gaining 7.4% to 20p, Plexus Holdings up 3.5% at 117.5p and John Menzies rising 2.1% to 594.5p.
Johnston Press was down another 13.6% to 6.5p and Nautical Petroleum was off 3% at 324.3p.