Doubts on US Stimulus Plan Create Global Ripple; SHARE PRICES MARKET REPORT

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The FTSE 100 Index plunged deep into the red yesterday as doubts over the United States economic stimulus plan rippled through global markets.

Wall Street was closed yesterday but the Dow Jones Industrial Average swiftly fell more than three per cent on opening as US car giants rushed to meet deadlines for plans on how to repay huge public loans.

The Footsie followed the downbeat mood as President Obama prepared to sign his EURUS787 billion (pounds 548 billion) package into law. It closed 100.6 points lower at 4034.1 after briefly dipping below 4,000 for the first time since January.

Elsewhere in Europe, Germany's Dax lost 3.4 per cent andFrance'sCAC40shedmore than two per cent.

In the UK, figures showing that UK inflation eased at a slower-than-expected pace - falling from3.1 per cent to three per cent last month - also failed to boost investor sentiment.

The banking sector was a major casualty of the falls with Lloyds Banking Group coming under more pressure after last week's shock HBOS profits warning.

Under-pressure property firms were also suffering, with Land Securities dropping nine per cent after indicating on Monday it may follow its rivals in asking shareholders for additional cash.

As well as a fall of 53p to 568.5p for Land Secs, Hammerson was off 36p to 351.25p and British Land dropped 13.5p to 436.75p, a fall of five per cent.

Their FTSE 250 counterparts also felt the heat, with Brixton the worst hit in the second tier. The stock fell 19p to 48p, a fall of almost 40 per cent.

Back in the top flight, Standard Chartered and HSBC joined Lloyds on the fallers' board, sliding 69. …