The Australian market was crushed by fallout from a wave of selling in China, with heavy losses among banks, mining and resources stocks.
Local investors were already selling following a sharp fall in commodities overnight when Asia started its plunge, accelerating the losses on the ASX.
Here’s the scoreboard:
- S&P ASX 200: 5,469.50 -111.92 -2.01%
- All Ordinaries: 5,456.50 -107.46 -1.93%
- AUD/USD: 0.7395 -0.0057 -0.76%
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed 0.6% higher but European shares fell as investors watched for developments on a new Greek debt deal.
On the local market, all sectors were red. The market fell on opening, dragged down by lower commodities prices. Futures prices for iron ore, nickel, copper and lead were all smoked overnight on the London Metals Exchange.
The ASX, now down about 9% since the middle of April, today lost its gains from Tuesday’s rally. The list of the day’s losses is long and deep with about $30 billion wiped from the market.
The banks suffered with three of the four big players down more than 2%. The NAB was lost 2.57% to $33.33, the Commonwealth 2.19% to $85.77, the ANZ 2.3% to $32.27 and Westpac 1.78% to $33.16. Macquarie Bank lost 3.77% to $79.64.
BHP lost 3.12% to $25.43 and Rio Tinto 4.25% to $50.06. BHP spinoff s32 closed down almost 5% to $1.72.
Fortescue Metals (FMG) dropped 6.6% to $1.67, as the price of iron ore fell 4.6% to below $US50 a tonne. BC Iron shed a massive 8.33% to $0.27 and Mount Gibson 7.5% to $0.18.
Among energy stocks, Santos fell 3.25% to $7.45, Woodside Petroleum 2.95% to $33.62 and LNG 2.5% to $3.90.
Retail stocks were also caught in the Asia nosedive. Department store Myer closed down 3.86% to $1.24, Harvey Norman 2.44% to $4.40, Super Retail 4% to $8.89 and Solomon lew’s Premier Investments 3.08% to $12.90.
The top stories Wednesday:
1. The latest on the market in China. The benchmark Shanghai Composite index was down around 4%. A huge unwinding of Chinese margin debt is driving the sell-off. Here’s why the crash in Chinese stocks matters so much to Australia.
2. NIB, one of only two listed health insurance companies, today bought Australia’s third largest travel insurance group, World Nomads, for $95 million. NIB closed down 3.17% in a falling market to $3.36.
3. Atlas Iron, which has already once mothballed its mines because of tanking iron ore prices, has forward sold much of its production and won’t be affected by the current drop below $US50 a tonne.
4. Backdoor listing. Gold and tin exploration company Minrex Resources announced deal with real estate industry disruptor Hello.
5. Benchmark manipulation? The corporate watchdog ASIC is investigating whether market indexes such as the ASX 200 and other benchmarks for interest rates and foreign exchange are being manipulated.