Australian stocks had their biggest one-day fall of 2017.
- ASX 200: 5,684.50 -90.12 -1.56%
- All Ordinaries: 5,732.00 -87.49 -1.50%
- AUD/USD: 0.7669 -0.0022 -0.29%
The local market was hit by a wave of selling from Wall Street, sparking the worst fall since the US elections in November.
Overnight the S&P500 dropped 1.2% with financial sector stocks hit hard on fears the Trump administration may not be able to push through growth policies including tax cuts.
On the ASX, the US sentiment flowed through to local banks, pushing the ASX200 below the key 5700 point.
The ANZ was down 2.5% to $30.76, Westpac 2.4% to $33.49, the Commonwealth 2% to $82.71 and NAB 1.5% to $31.71.
The big miners were caught in the slide and pushed further down by lower commodity prices. BHP was down 2.9% to $23.92 and Rio Tinto 2.6% to $60.00.
Falling iron ore and steel prices hit Fortescue Metals, sending its shares down 5.2% to $6.27. Bluescope Steel dropped 4.6% to $12.39.
Among health stocks, CSL fell 1.9% to $122.58 and Cochlear 1.5% to $130.34.
A stand out was Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments, up 4% to $14.35, after yesterday posting record half year sales for its string of fashion brands.
Nufarm returned to the black, posting a $20 million half year profit compared to a loss of $91 million. Its shares rose 3.2% to $9.67.
The top stories:
1. Australia’s mortgage market is on the brink of a shake-up. Here’s what it might look like.
2. Cracking down on Australian housing investor loans. Reports that a special regulatory working group was set up last week.
3. Demand for workers in mining regions is starting to improve. Online job advertisements in Australia rose for a fifth consecutive month in February.
4. Business leaders and social issues. The “stick to the knitting” comment by Turnbull government minister Peter Dutton.
5. Where to now for rates? Westpac says they are on hold and the near-term outlook for the Australian economy is good.
6. Using super to buy a house. It’s been done before and it’s still not a good idea.
7. Australia is a happy country. The United Nations says it’s in the top ten happiest.
8. Australia’s IPOs returned nearly 12% in 2016. Again, they outperformed the benchmark ASX200 index which closed 7% higher for the year.
9. The Wall Street Journal on Donald Trump: “The President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle.”
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