The index of Germany's 30 leading blue-chip companies at one point plunged to 5212 points, down over five percent on the day and off a massive 30 percent from the year's high notched in May.
“The avalanche has started,” said one dejected trader according to the website of news magazine Der Spiegel. “Resignation and pessimism are colouring the mood.”
Among the biggest losers in Frankfurt was Deutsche Bank, which dropped nine percent at one point on news that US courts and UK regulators were looking into its subprime dealings that helped spark the global financial crisis in 2008.
The tumultuous day follows several weeks of extreme market volatility in which the Frankfurt Stock Market and counterparts in Europe and the United States have fluctuated wildly. But both the weak American economy and Europe's ongoing sovereign debt crisis continue to spook investors.
“It's an organized selloff,” explained one German trader.