AUSTRALIAN STOCKS CRUSHED: What you need to know

Jack Fitzgerald of the Hawks suffers a knee injury during the 2016 AFL NAB Challenge match between the Richmond Tigers and the Hawthorn Hawks. Michael Dodge/Getty Images

The Australian market fell hard.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 4,999.40 -83.39 -1.64%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,073.80 -77.99 -1.51%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7658 0.0000 0.00%

It was a bad start to April, a month which traditionally gives better equities market returns than most.

Today’s losses wiped out yesterday’s 1.45% gain and take the accumulated fall on the ASX 200 since the start of 2016 to almost 5.6%.

The major banks, which have suffered recently from perceptions of growing bad debts, again led the market on a slide, dragging the ASX 200 index to below the key 5000 point level.

All sectors were in the red with financial stocks down 2.3% and the energy sector 2%.

Westpac today dropped below $30 a share, falling 2.3% to $29.65.

The ANZ, which has been sold down since warning of more bad debts from resource industry-related loans, lost 2.7% to $22.81.

The Commonwealth shed 2.5% to $72.99 and the NAB 2.1% to $25.68.

Recall, the information management group, was up 7% to $8.03 after the US company Iron Mountain received regulatory approval for a $2 billion takeover.

The top stories Friday:

1. The Santos restructure. Santos has appointed a new senior executive team, what it calls its Excom, as the energy giant moves to a new operating model for a low commodity price world. Santos shares lost 2.7% to close at $3.92.

2. Getting a loan. The ANZ is tightening the rules for home loans from next week as Australia’s banks start to adjust for any downturn in the housing market.

3. Sorry, again. Telstra’s next free data day is this Sunday.

4. Australian manufacturing hits a 12-year high. Activity levels across the sector expanded at the their fastest pace in more than a decade in March.

5. Stay alert. South Australia has just legalised driverless cars.

6. A stronger dollar. The Australian dollar just logged its largest monthly gain since October 2011.

7. Inside Slack’s new HQ. Slack opened its Asia Pacific digs in Melbourne.

8. Planning a meeting. How a potential investor instantly put Shoes of Prey co-founder Jodie Fox offside.

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