Fears of the effects of the ‘credit crunch’ sparked heavy selling of global equities yesterday, triggering the FTSE 100’s worst one-day slide for more than four years. Financial Times. The Independent. Daily Telegraph. The Guardian. The Independent

The FTSE 100 fell more than 200 points, or 3.2%, to 6,251.2, its biggest drop since March 2003 in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Turmoil in the credit markets threatens to make leveraged buy-outs by private equity firms and mergers and acquisitions more difficult.

This week, banks gave up on efforts to sell to investors $20bn of debt related to the buy-outs of Chrysler and Alliance Boots.