The FTSE 100 tumbled 80 points or 1.2% to 6,561 following the slide in the US stock market overnight.
Although the sell-off has been led by US technology stocks, here Hargreaves Lansdown (HRGV) bore the brunt after Morgan Stanley cut its price target to £14.95 from £16.70. Shares in the stock broker and fund supermarket fell 76p or 5.7% to £12.48, leading the blue chip charge lower.
Chip designer ARM Holdings (ARM) followed close behind, down 45.5p or 4.5% to 958p.
Housebuilders were also under pressure after the Office for National Statistics revealed the bad weather in February knocked construction output by 2.8%. Berkeley Group (BKGH) fell 73p or 3% to £24.04 and Crest Nicholson (CRST) dipped 5p or 1.3% to 379p.
Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight, said despite the gloomy figures, the sector was still on course for growth over the first quarter. 'Construction output will hopefully have seen a marked rebound in March given the much better weather and seemingly healthy underlying business. Repair work relating to the flood damage should also have helped constuction activity in March, and it should continue to do so going forward.'
Will Hedden of IG, the spread better, said that with US banks JPMorgan and Wells Fargo due to publish results this afternoon 'you would be forgiven for packing your bags and taking the weekend to digest the week's volatility.'
He warned that if US earnings did not meet expectations in the coming weeks investors would find it increasingly easy to press the 'sell' button.