Britain's top share index yesterday suffered its biggest decline so far this year, hit by drops in insurer Prudential and energy stocks such as BG.
Prudential fell 3.1 per cent as the loss of its chief executive, Tidjane Thiam, to Credit Suisse took the shine off a 14 per cent rise in 2014 operating profits.
Energy stocks also slumped as oversupply and weak demand pushed Brent crude oil futures down. BG dropped 7.4 per cent, while Tullow Oil fell seven per cent.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended down 2.5 per cent at 6,702.84 points. The FTSE has retreated from the record high of 6,974.26 points it reached on 2 March. It remains up by two per cent since the start of the year.
Engineer Weir Group fell 3.3 per cent, reversing some recent gains. It had rallied nearly 12 per cent since last Thursday on speculation that Weir, hurt by cutbacks in by oil firms, might attract interest from US private equity firms.
On a brighter note, shares in financial services group Charles Stanley -- which is not in the main FTSE 100 index -- rose 5.4 per cent after the group said it might sell its Charles Stanley Securities arm.