London's blue-chip share index has suffered one of its worse beginnings to a year since it was launched 24 years ago.
The FTSE 100 Index has shed more than 577 points since the start of 2008 - a drop of 8.9 per cent on its opening mark of 6456.9.
The fall represents the third-worst January on record for the top flight, which was founded in 1984.
The Footsie's worst-ever January performance was at the the start of 2000 at the height of the dotcom crash, when the FTSE 100 plummeted 9.6 per cent.
Fears over the state of the US economy and the ongoing crisis in credit markets have seen shares take a hammering this month.
Around £77 billion was wiped off the value of FTSE 100-listed shares last week in the "Blue Monday" crash, coming on what was said to be the most depressing day of the year.
The London market suffered its worst one-day fall since the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, plunging by 323.5 points.
David Schwartz, stock market historian, said the FTSE 100 had endured "one hell of a drop" this month, which did not bode well for the rest of the year.
"These kinds of falls happen in a bear market and with the majority of the big January falls being followed by further declines, probability is saying that there are more falls to come in 2008," he said.
Stock markets across the world have seen unusually high volatility as concerns mount that the US is heading for a full-blown recession.
The US yesterday cut interest rates for the second time in just over a week in an attempt to stave off its economic woes.