AUSTRALIAN STOCKS ARE GETTING SMASHED

Australian stocks are being crushed.

So far this month, August is down 8.8%, making it the worst on the ASX since the GFC.

The major banks, miners and energy stocks were leading the local market down after a slump in global confidence.

Markets in Asia followed the slide, with Shanghai 3% down, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng losing 2.5% and Japan’s Nikkei 2.5%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell below 5200 points for the first time since December. A short time ago, the index was at 5,179.90, down 108.68 points or 2.06%.

Overnight Wall Street suffered its biggest fall in 18 months with the S&P500 losing 2.1%. In Europe, investors sold down after seeing more disruption ahead with new elections planned for Greece.

On the local market, all ten sectors were in the red, adding to yesterday’s 1.7% fall.

The major banks were all weaker, with the NAB down 3.5% to $30.91, the ANZ 3.50% to $28.11, Westpac 3.14% to $31.19 and the Commonwealth 2.5% to $74.23.

The big miners at first held their ground but later joined the general slide. BHP was 1% weaker at $24.12.

IAG fell 4.5% to $5.55 after the insurance company posted a 41% fall in profit to $728 million.

Medibank Private shares surged more than 11% to $2.24 after posting a full year net profit of $291.8 million, beating its own prospectus forecast of $258.2 million.

And Santos shares reversed a fall, climbing more than 3% to $5.82 after the oil and gas producer announced the departure of CEO David Knox and a strategic review of the business.

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