Australian stocks crumble to lowest close in two years

Chart: Investing.com

Despite a strong start to the day Australian stocks faded to another negative close.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 4,892.80 -16.58 -0.34%
  • All Ordinaries: 4,948.50 -15.57 -0.31%
  • AUD/USD: 0.6948 -0.0037 -0.52%

The local market closed down almost 2% for the week and has lost 7.6% since the start of 2016. Ten out of 11 trading sessions since the start of the year have been negative and today was the lowest close since July 2013.

Local investors at first enthusiastically followed Wall Street’s lead where the S&P 500 closed 1.7% higher overnight.

The ASX 200 opened strongly, up about 1.6%, all ten sectors in the green and almost breaking through 5000 points.

The rally started to fade and then reverse as markets in the region also came under pressure, with the selloff in Chinese equities continuing.

The major Australian banks led the slide with Westpac down 0.23% to $31.09 and the Commonwealth losing 0.68% to $78.88.

The big miners managed to stay above water, with BHP up 1.28% to $15.07 and Rio Tinto 1.7% to $39.51.

The top stories Friday:

1. Oil shale value. BHP Billiton is again writing down the value of its US assets by $US4.9 billion ($A7 billion)post-tax as weaker oil prices continue to cut into its business.

2. No pay rise this year. Rio Tinto has put a freeze on wages across the company as it seeks ways to meet the challenge of sliding commodity prices.

3. Borrowing is strong. Australian home loan lending topped expectations in November, bucking weakness seen in other housing related data.

4. NBN reform. Australia’s second largest telco, Optus, is worried that Telstra could get a “first-mover” advantage if proposed changes to the Turnbull government’s NBN policy come into play.

5. All about culture? Two traders are suing ANZ, claiming management condoned a culture of sex, drugs and alcohol.

6. The “if only” view. Why modern leaders need more than bold vision.

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