European shares fall sharply amid unrest over austerity measures

Stockmarket Stock FTSE 450

European markets recorded sharp losses on Wednesday as strikes swept across much of the continent due to concerns over austerity measures.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended the day down 1.1 per cent to closing at 5722.01, while the French Cac 40 and the German Dax indices were both down 0.9 per cent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index also fell 0.9 per cent.

Many southern European countries were hit by the strikes, which were coordinated by unions to protest against the austerity measures implemented by governments to reduce debt. There was a general strike in Spain in the automobile, energy, shipbuilding and construction industries. Flights were delayed around the continent due to transportation strikes.

Miners led the FTSE 100 lower with Evraz the biggest faller, dropping 7 per cent. Rangold Resources and Eurasian Natural Resources completed the top three fallers with losses of 5.1 per cent and 4.6 per cent ,respectively.

The US also saw stocks fall in early trades with the Dow Jones falling 0.4 per cent at 17.08 BST.