Stat of the month: Financial freefall - £340bn - Value lost by FTSE-100 firms, 10 Sep-10 Oct

The City awoke on 10 September to a FTSE-100 sitting pretty at 5,366.2 points - worth £1,279.8bn. The mood was relatively, if still tentatively, upbeat: since the American bail-out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, perhaps the worst of the woes were behind us. Then Lehman's went bust, and the real crisis escalated. A month later, the index was floudering at 3,932.1 - worth just £939.8bn. That's a fall of 1434.1 points - more than a quarter of its value shed in 28 days. If the chart that day was a cartoon, Wile E Coyote would be landing face-first in the bottom of a canyon in a distant puff of dust. To put the crash in perspective, the week ending 10 October was by far the worst ever week for the FTSE in terms of points dropped - twice as many as the worst week in 1987, in the wake of Black Monday. A bleak association indeed. With the US stock markets losing around $8.3trn to date this year, and the markets in Asia trembling from the fall-out, the recession is now official, and the pound is tumbling as a result. So it may be worth remembering troubles past and savouring this lesson: once you hit bottom, there's only one way to go ...

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