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AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLIDE AGAIN: Here's what you need to know

Photo by Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images

Australian stocks have fallen heavily for a second consecutive session, weighed down by continued concerns over China’s economy and renewed geopolitical tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

First, the final scoreboard for Wednesday.

  • ASX 200 5123.1000 , -61.33 , -1.18%
  • All Ords 5178.3 , -60.95 , -1.16%
  • AUD/USD 0.712 , -0.0037 , -0.52%

Having started the session marginally in the black, the market reversed course after 15 minutes of trade and kept going, losing ground rapidly after 12pm AEDT as Chinese markets reopened.

A combination of a substantially weaker yuan fixing from the PBOC, poor China services PMI report for December and nuclear test from North Korea acted in tandem to keep the market under pressure throughout the latter parts of the session.

Fitting with the weak finish for the broader ASX 200 index, all sectors bar utilities finished in the red with the steepest losses coming from the gold, information technology, materials and energy sectors.

Financials, the largest component of the index by market weight, finished with a decline of 1.2%.

Here’s the top stories for Wednesday.

1. North Korea says it let off a hydrogen bomb, something that ensured a bad session for stocks remained that way.

2. Here’s why Dick Smith was called ‘the greatest private equity heist of all time

3. Activity levels in Australia’s services sector, vital to its economic transition, contracted at the fastest pace in over a year in December.

4. Here’s the RBA’s challenge on interest rates now.

5. There’s bad news for China’s economic transition as well. Activity across its services sector slowed to a crawl last month.

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