The Swiss Stock Exchange opened with a 3.7 per cent drop in early trading on Monday as uncertainty continued over the state of global financial markets.
Similar falls were reported across Europe as trading opened after the weekend and after low finishes in Asia.
Within the first 15 minutes of trading, the Swiss Market Index (SMI) of 20 leading companies had dropped to 6625.82 points.
The country's largest bank, UBS, recorded the sharpest tumble – ten per cent – before regaining two per cent.
Credit Suisse and the private bank Julius Bär also dropped, while pharmaceutical firm Novartis recorded a four per cent fall.
All Asian markets plunged on Monday, with Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index falling 4.25 per cent to its lowest level in over four years, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index sliding 4.3 per cent. Markets in mainland China, Australia, South Korea, India, Singapore and Thailand also fell sharply also.
Russia's biggest stock market, the MICEX, tumbled 12 per cent in the first hour of trading. London's FTSE 100 was down 4.7 per cent in the first 15 minutes.