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Stock markets slide despite ECB support

Stock markets slide despite ECB support

Category: Investments

Updated: 08/08/2011
First Published: 08/08/2011

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Stock markets have slipped lower once again despite European policy makers revealing plans to help avoid a debt crisis spiralling out of control in Spain and Italy.

Fears that either or both of the countries might be the next Eurozone members to require a helping hand came hot on the heels of the troubles from over the Atlantic.

Over the weekend, the ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded its AAA credit rating for the US to AA+, causing major embarrassment to the world's largest economy.

The combined uncertainty created by events in the US and the Eurozone saw around £1.5 trillion wiped off the value of stock markets around the world last week.

The FTSE 100 index in the UK fell by 10%, shedding around £150 billion in value.

Confidence amongst investors appears to be low, with growing concern that a second financial crisis might be on the cards.

Shares in the Asian stock markets fell overnight, with the fear being that European markets would follow suit.

Despite a brief rally this morning, the announcement by the European Central Bank of its intention to buy up government bonds from Italy and Spain appears to have failed to steady investor nerves.

The turmoil has spelt bad news not only for investors, but for many pension savers too.

Defined contribution pension savers will have suffered the most, with the size of their pension pot typically being dependent on returns from the stock market.

However, how seriously affected people will be is likely to depend on how long they have to go until retirement, as Laith Khalaf, pensions analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, points out.

"Pension investors retiring twenty years hence are unlikely to rue last week's stock market falls when they eventually come to draw on their pension," he explains.

"Those close to retirement have greater cause for concern, though may have been sheltered to some extent by de-risking their pension investments.

"Pension investors should regularly assess their pension investments to make sure they still suit their personal circumstances and attitude to risk, particularly in the run up to retirement."

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