AUSTRALIAN STOCKS DUMPED: Here's what you need to know

Gavin Van Peperzeel of Queensland crashes into the fence during his Australian Open Men’s Singles Play Off match against Bradley Mousley of South Australia in Melbourne. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Australian stocks were crushed.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 4,928.60 -100.85 -2.01%
  • All Ordinaries: 4,981.90 -96.73 -1.90%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7199 +0.0010 +0.15%

It was the fifth straight session of losses, adding to last week’s 2.3% fall. And it was the second lowest close for the ASX 200 index since July 2013.

From this year’s peak of 5996.9 on March 3, the index has lost 17.82%, nearing the 20% technical level level deemed to be a bear market. Year to date the index is down 8.93%.

Local investors were caught in a global wave of negative sentiment on top of weaker commodity prices. Wall Street dropped on Friday ahead of a possible US rate hike with the S&P 500 closing down 1.94% for a 3.8% loss for the week.

On the ASX, all ten sectors went into the red, with losses increasing toward the close. The major banks and the big miners both dragged in the market.

BHP fell below $17 a share, by 3.49% to $16.60. Rio Tinto was down 2% to $42.18 and Fortescue 2.45% to $1.795.

Westpac lost 2.5% to $30.66 and the NAB 2.3% to $27.94.

Energy stocks lost shed more than 3%. LNG dropped 10.6% to $0.88 and Santos 4.8% to $3.34.

The top stories Monday:

1. A wild time. Suncorp’s margins are being squeezed by insurance claims from a record run of natural disasters combined with a lower Australian dollar. Suncorp shares closed 9.8% down at $11.77.

2. A buyback. CIMIC, formerly the contractor Leighton, thinks its share price is so “attractive” it is buying back 10% of the company on market. CIMIC shares closed 0.5% higher at $22.25.

3. The SurfStitch story. Why an investment banker ditched his job to sell surfwear online from his garage.

4. More on the alleged Bitcoin creator. The Australian inventor allegedly tried to spend $85 million of the cryptocurrency on gold.

The big dividend payer. Deutsche Bank analysts think BHP might struggle to keep paying its dividends.

5. Budget blues. The budget update released tomorrow will be treasurer Scott Morrison’s opportunity to re-set Australia’s fiscal agenda by shaving spending and replacing unachievable goals with new ones.

6. Where to now? Queensland’s merged Liberal National Party (LNP) has rejected a push by former Abbott government minister Ian Macfarlane to defect from the Liberals to the Nationals, saying it was “not in the best interests of the party”.

7. The final Holden? The last Aussie hurrah is looking to be a mean, supercharged V8 machine.

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