European stock markets dived more than two percent in opening deals on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve warned over the "highly uncertain" economic outlook due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In initial trade, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of blue-chip companies slid 2.2 percent to 6,187.39 points.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index sank 2.5 percent to 12,220.01 points and the Paris CAC 40 also lost 2.5 percent to 4,929.30.
Milan's FTSE Mib shed almost 2.5 percent to 19,273.53 and Madrid's IBEX 35 plunged 2.8 percent to 7,446.90 points.
"It would appear the dire outlook for the US this year has weighed on sentiment," noted analyst David Madden at trading firm CMC Markets.
After a much-anticipated meeting, the Fed laid out its view on Wednesday that the world's top economy would take time to fully recover from the worst global emergency in generations, which is expected to tip the planet into recession.
In a statement, it warned that the COVID-19 crisis "poses considerable risk to the economic outlook over the medium term", expecting a 6.5 percent contraction this year and an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent.