Construction firms hit hard as key indices drop by up to 72% in 2008

Stockmarkets around the world have suffered an annus horribilis, as trillions of pounds have been wiped off share values. The global economic downturn has sent shares crashing, losing £9.7tn for the world economy, the Guardian has reported.

London's FTSE 100 index lost 31.3% of its value, the worst drop since it was founded in 1984, with construction firms some of the worst casualties. Wall Street lost almost 35%, and Europe was not exempt from the decline, with Germany, France, Spain and Italy recording losses of 40.4%, 43%, 47.5% and 48.5% respectively. Russia, however, fared the worst with a drop in value of its RTS index of 72%. China's Shanghai composite index fell 65%.

David Buik of BCG Partners said that the UK at least could expect a mixed future in 2009: 'With the dole queue likely to increase to 2.5 million by the end of May 2009, and with corporate profits in the next quarter likely to fall by 15% and with the housing market continuing to retrench, the immediate outlook for equities is unappetising. However, with many companies still paying reasonable dividends, the UK stockmarket should rally strongly in the second half of the year.'