STOCKS CRUSHED: ASX falls through 5000

The run of disappointment for the Australian market this year continues.

The S&P/ASX 200 fell through the key 5000 point level. It closed at 4,998.10, down 105.45 points or 2.07%. The index, which almost broke through 6000 earlier this year, is now below 5000 for the first time since July 2013.

Today the market was already trading down after a poor session on Wall Street, with the the S&P 500 1.2% weaker, when more bad news on China’s economy punished local stocks further.

The Caixin-Markit Flash manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 47.0 in September, its lowest since March 2009.

Markets are down across Asia. Chinese stocks, after opening lower, have also extended their losses. The benchmark Shanghai Composite has closed the morning session at 3116.9, a decline of 2.16%. The losses in Shanghai are reflective of weakness in other mainland Chinese indices with the SSE 50, CSI 300, CSI 500, ChiNext and Shenzhen Composite all off by more than 1.4%.

Elsewhere the Hang Seng in Hong Kong has fallen close to 3% while stocks in South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore are lower by 1.45%, 2% and 1.18% respectively.

Amidst thin trade due to a public holiday in Japan, S&P 500 futures, having fallen by more than 1% on Tuesday, are currently lower by 0.89%.

All 10 sectors on the ASX went into the red, wiping out Tuesday’s 0.74% rise and adding to Monday’s 2% loss.

The major banks were weaker by more than 2% with Westpac dropping 3.6% to $29.98.

BHP led resources stocks, which are vulnerable to a weaker China economy, falling 4.5% to $22.78. The world’s biggest miner has lost about one-quarter of its share price this year.

Rio Tinto lost 2.36% to $48.03.

Energy stocks were being sold down with Woodside losing 2.66% to $28.86.

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