UK and European equity markets moved lower on Tuesday (23 February), as a renewed decline in oil prices and concerns surrounding the outcome of Britain's European Union referendum added to the ongoing market volatility.
London's FTSE 100 closed down 1.25% to 5,952.31, followed in the red by its European counterparts, as Germany's Dax and France's CAC 40 fell 1.64% and 1.40% respectively, while the Pan European Stoxx 600 lost 1.22%.
Oil prices erased the previous session's gains and fell sharply, with Brent crude tumbling 3.50% to $33.52 (£23.75, €30.39) a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate lost 4.51% to $31.95 a barrel.
"The recent momentum of the recovery has run its course and markets are in need of something else to get their teeth into to the drive us further north, or send us back south," said Michael Van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets. "A pullback by oil and industrial commodities from key technical levels is sapping risk appetite."
Among FTSE 100 stocks, Standard Chartered shares plunged after the bank reported a surprise $1.5bn full year loss over 2015. The Asia-focused bank said that it sunk into a loss as unexpected expenses soared.
Mining giant BHP Billiton was also among the worst performers on London's blue-chip index after posting its first half-year loss in almost two decades amid the current slump in commodity prices, adding it would slash its interim dividend by 75%.
At the other end of the scale, there was much better news for the London Stock Exchange Group, which saw its shares soar after confirming it was in talks over a potential merger with Deutsche Boerse to create a European global markets infrastructure group.
Housebuilder Persimmon was also on the front foot after reporting a surge in profit over the full year to 31 December 2015, as it benefited from the soaring housebuilding industry in the UK.
Meggitt led the risers on London's second-tier index, after the aerospace and defence firm said its 2015 pre-tax profit edged higher despite a "challenging year" and lifted its dividend. Ladbrokes swung to a full-year loss but the bookmaker remained upbeat over its outlook for 2016 and 2017, indicating it remained on track to complete its proposed merger with sector peer Gala Coral.
Meanwhile, energy group Drax was among the worst performers on the FTSE 250 after reporting its underlying earnings nearly halved from £96m to £46m, while profit before tax tumbled from £166m to just £59m, forcing the company to slash its final dividend from 7.2p per share in 2014 to just 0.2p per share.
FTSE 100 - Top 5 risers
London Stock Exchange Group +14.53%
InterContinental Hotels Group +3.50%
Randgold Resources +2.59%
Provident Financial +2.50%
FTSE 100 - Top 5 fallers
BHP Billiton -6.89%
Standard Chartered -6.89%
Anglo American -6.57%
Aberdeen Asset Management -5.09%
FTSE 250 - Top 5 risers
Wood Group +5.23%
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels +5.20%
FTSE 250 - Top 5 fallers
Drax Group -7.90%
Restaurant Group -5.44%
Unite Group -4.29%
Vedanta Resources -3.95%
Mediclinic International -3.93%