AUSTRALIAN STOCKS FALL HARD: Here's What You Need To Know

Hubertus Von Hohenlohe of Mexico crashes out in first run during the Men’s Slalom during day 15 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

The Australian market fell hard today, the third day of losses in a row.

The ASX was down almost 1% on the back of numbers showing continuing weak consumer confidence and lower wage rises.

Wall Street provided little direction overnight, with the S&P 500 closing higher by just 0.1%.

Local miners lead the pack down, losing about 2%. The banks were about 1% weaker on average, with Macquare Bank down almost 3% to $60.05 after going ex-dividend.

In the region, Japan’s the Nikkei was stronger by 1.5%, Shanghai down 0.3% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng firmer by 0.1%.

First, the scoreboard:

S&P ASX 200: 5,463.10 -54.00 (-0.98%)
All Ordinaries: 5,443.00 -50.99 (-0.93%)
AUD/USD: 0.8676 -0.0010 (-0.12%)

And the top stories on Wednesday:

1. Pessimists rule. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute’s November monthly consumer sentiment survey shows a rise of 1.9% in November to a below average 96.6. The Index is 12.5% below its level of a year ago and 3.6% below its level before the lead up period to the Federal Budget in May.

2. Australian wages have the lowest growth in 15 years. The ABS quarterly wage price index shows a rise of just 2.6% over the last year.

3. Investors sold down Myer shares after the department store announced flat sales for the first quarter of the financial year. Its shares fell more than 7% to $1.76 today and have lost more than 25% in value in just two months.

4. The iron miners slipped on continuing fears of further falls in the price of the ore. Atlas Iron was down more than 14% to $0.21, BC Iron almost 11% to $0.77 and Fortescue 2% to $2.96.

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