Billions are being wiped from Australian stocks

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Australian stocks were buried in an avalanche of fear, with more than $30 billion wiped from the market as investors ran from an approaching Greek debt default.

The ASX 200 was below 5,500 and heading toward losing all the gains of 2015. The market has lost 4.7% since Wednesday last week.

Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG, says the Greek debt crisis has still to play out.

“It’s pretty dark days,” he told Business Insider. “I am not sure I would be buying today. There are still a lot of questions to be answered. I can see absolutely no reason why you would be buying. Europe is going to be absolutely taken to the cleaners on open and rightly so. The step towards Grexit is closer and looks like it is on the cards.”

The big question is: when will be the right time to go back in and buy?

The local market had its worst day in a month on Friday, falling 1.54% for the day to close the week out 0.9% down.

Today, financial stocks fell more than 2% with the ANZ losing 2.78% to $32.18, Westpac 2.73% to $32.11, the NAB 2.58% to $33.21 and Commonwealth 2.12% to $84.81. AMP was down 2.78% to $5.95.

BHP was weaker by 1.78% to $27.01 and Rio Tinto 1.46% to $53.29. Among energy stocks, LNG lost more than 5% to $3.90, Santos 1.68% to $7.91 and Origin Energy 4% to $11.23.

All ten sectors were in the red.

Retail stocks were getting crushed, with Myer losing 3.15% to $1.23 and JB Hi-Fi 1.77% to $19.46.

Slater and Gordon was down 25% to $3.76 after the law firm reported an error its UK revenue.

Perpetual lost almost 5% to $48.06 after Morgan Stanley downgraded the Australian investment and trustee group.

Local gold miners benefited from the crisis as the price of the precious metal rose about 0.85%. Northern Star was up 5.43% to $2.33, Evolution Mining 3.45% to $1.20, Newcrest Mining 1.62% to $13.18 and Ocean Gold Corp 4.95% to $3.29.

The Australian market hit a high on the ASX 200 index of 5996.9 on March 3 and has been slipping ever since.

Here’s our coverage on the Greek crisis as it unfolds:

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