The Swiss Market index has fallen to a new low for the year as investors continue to worry about the economic consequences of last week's suicide attacks in the United States. The blue-chip index closed down 4.5 per cent, falling below the previous low of 5455.5 set earlier this week.
The SMI was not alone, with stock exchanges in Frankfurt, London and Paris all showing sharp falls. Airline companies, insurance firms and other financial stacks led the decline.
In Switzerland by mid-afternoon, all but two of the SMI's 29 listed shares had registered falls. Only the telecommunications operator, Swisscom, and the inspections company, SGS, bucked the trend.
Defensive stocks such as Nestlé, Roche and Novartis were also down, though by less than the market average.
Meanwhile the Swiss franc is continuing to gain strength against the dollar, the euro and other major currencies as currency dealers take advantage of its traditional status as a safe haven.
On Thursday, the Swiss currency rose to a record level against the euro for a fifth consecutive day. It also stands at a 20 month high against the dollar.
swissinfo with agencies