AUSTRALIAN STOCKS SLAPPED DOWN: Here's what you need to know

Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

Australian stocks fell hard, hit by a wave from Wall Street.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • ASX200: 6,026.20 -95.20 -1.56%
  • All Ordinaries: 6,128.40 -101.40 -1.63%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7936 +0.0010 +0.13%

The local market had its worst day in 18 months, following a rout on Wall Street where the Dow Jones index dropped 2.5% on Friday, the biggest daily fall since June 2016. The S&P 500 index lost 2.1% and the tech heavy Nasdaq 2%.

On the ASX, Westpac shed 1.2% to $31.31 and the Commonwealth 1.2% to $79.80.

BHP was down 2.1% to $30.15, Rio Tinto 2.2% to $76.50 and energy group Santos 3.5% to $5.18.

Among retailers, Harvey Norman was down 2.6% to $4.37.

Top stories:

1. Wesfarmers’ British Bunnings adventure. Wesfarmers is writing down its UK push into the home hardware business with a non-cash impairment of £454 million ($A795 million) before tax against the acquisition of Homebase. Its shares fell 4.5% to $42.16.

2. Australian job ads just recorded the largest surge in years. According to ANZ Bank, total advertisements surged by 6.2% to 177,961 last month in seasonally adjusted terms, the largest percentage increase since February 2010.

3. And a writedown for Target. Wesframers has written down the value its discount retail chain by $306 million after lower than expected sales for the first-half of the 2018 financial year.

4. $15 million to fight acne with medical cannabis company. ASX-listed pharmaceutical Botanix did an equity raising from more than 15 new institutional investors to develop an acne treatment.

5. A warning bell on Australia’s infrastructure boom. AMP says investment is forecast to taper off by the middle of next year.

6. The surprises coming from Australia’s February reporting season. Here are the prospects for better, and worse, than usual earnings growth.

7. The gap between rich and poor. The overall financial comfort of Australians is not improving with ME’s Household Financial Comfort Index stuck at 5.49 out of 10.

8. JB Hi-Fi and the perfect comeback. Complaints about Apple’s Fed Square project in Victoria.

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