A sharp fall in the share price of mobile phone giant Vodafone wiped nearly 50 points off the FTSE 100 Index today.
Vodafone shares were down 14% or 21.35p at 127.9p after it said revenues had been hit by a weaker economic environment and lower than expected sales of equipment such as handsets and USB data cards.
The decline for such a heavily-weighted stock meant expectations of a modest fall for the Footsie became a slide of 72.8 points at 5331.5 at mid-morning.
A trading update from Enterprise Inns also unsettled the market, with a number of brewing and pub chains down as a result.
Enterprise, which has around 7,500 tenanted pubs, suffered a 14% share price fall after it said weaker beer volumes and increased levels of assistance to licensees had put profits under pressure.
Shares were 47p cheaper at 298.75p, while in the second tier Punch Taverns fell 26.75p to 238.5p and Mitchells & Butlers declined 17.25p to 240.5p.
Housebuilders were also big fallers in the FTSE 250 Index, with Bovis Homes down 41.5p at 398.5p, Persimmon off 33.25p at 324.25p and Taylor Wimpey 4.25p lower at 442.5p. The declines put paid to the mini-recovery seen in the sector since the middle of last week.
Back in the top flight, Severn Trent shares rose almost 4%, or 52p to 1399p, after it said trading remained in line with expectations, despite a drop in consumption among meter customers.
In the banking sector, Royal Bank of Scotland shares were down 9.1p at 193.9p after National Australia Bank said it was no longer interested in buying the company’s ABN Amro assets in Australia and New Zealand.
However, there were some signs of life in the financial sector, after buy-to-let lender Paragon said it had received takeover interest. The stock jumped 24% or 20.25p to 104.25p amid reports that private equity group Blackstone was behind one of the approaches.