UK regulator bans traders from betting against major Portuguese companies until midnight

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a temporary ban on three major Portuguese companies - including two banks.

Until 2359 tonight, traders will not be able to short sell Banco Comercial Portugues, Banco Espirito Santo or Sonae Industria.

The move by the FCA follows Portugal's own financial regulator banning short-selling in four companies whose share values all fell over ten per cent yesterday.

Short selling refers to the practice of traders selling shares they don't own but think will fall in value, with the intention of buying them back later at a cheaper price in order to make a profit.