Financial stocks led sharp declines across European markets this morning after the continent's finance ministers failed to agree on a joint effort to stem the crisis. By 10 a.m. in London the FTSE was down 5.2%, with troubled banking giant HBOS plummeting 15%. In Frankfurt the Dax was down 4.5%, while in Paris the CAC 40 fell 4.7%.
Across Europe, the biggest falls came from the continent's biggest banks. UBS lost more than 10%, Deutsche Bank and Société Générale were both down over 6%, and Anglo Irish plummeted a dizzying 25%. "The question now seems to be how bad a recession we are in, not whether we are going into a recession," one dealer told the Financial Times.