AUSTRALIAN STOCKS, THE DOLLAR FALL: Here's what you need to know

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The Australian market was hammered by big losses on Wall Street and weaker commodity prices which pulled down resources stocks.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,793.20 -30.99 (-0.53%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,763.30 -30.96 (-0.53%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.7606 -0.0017 (-0.22%)

Overnight in the US, the S&P 500 index dropped 1.7% as investors digested the impact of a stronger dollar and the prospects of earlier than expected rise in interest rates.

In Australia, the dollar hit $0.759 US, the lowest its been since May 2009, before recovering to $0.7606.

The local market was also pulled down by a raft of companies going ex-dividend. The biggest was BHP which closed down almost 5% to $30.33. Eight out of 10 sectors were weaker.

The top stories on Wednesday:

1. Management moves. Shares in Ardent Leisure, which owns Dreamworld, got smashed after a media executive was appointed CEO. The shares closed down more than 19% to $1.965.

2. Dwindling sales. Major Australian companies are failing to grow revenue and only report better profits by cutting expenses, according to analysis of the December half-year earnings results.

3. The home lending market cooled a little in January. But Investment home lending hit a new record.

4. Consumer confidence in Australia dropped 1.2% in March according to the Westpac – Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index.

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