ASX dives as fears US economy is slowing – Wednesday 16:30 AEST

Derek Rose
(Australian Associated Press)

 

A major sell-off in global shares has battered the Australian share market, wiping out $35 billion in value, following fears the once-mighty United States economy is slowing.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday down 102.9 points, or 1.53 per cent, to 6,639.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries tumbled 99.7 points, or 1.45 per cent, to 6,753.3 points.

Markets fell around the world after a report showed US manufacturing activity weakened in September for a second straight month.

“The only place we have seen sustained growth was in the US,” so the report concerned traders, Blue Ocean Equities market portfolio strategist Mathan Somasundaram said.

It was the ASX’s worst day since August 15, with every sector save property trusts down at least a percentage point.

Tech stocks were the worst hit, falling 2.4 per cent as Xero dropped 3.2 per cent and Wisetech dropped 2.8 per cent, although Afterpay managed to rise 0.2 per cent.

Shares in Melbourne payment processor iSignthis were suspended following consultations with ASIC because of their recent volatility, “pending the outcome of enquiries to be made by ASIC and ASX into a number of issues concerning ISX”, the ASX said.

The ASX did not elaborate but the Melbourne company last month had to deal with a report by ASX governance company Ownership Matters raising questions about performance bonuses granted to senior executives.

The big banks were all down, with Commonwealth falling 2.1 per cent to $79.60, Westpac down 1.7 per cent to $29.21, ANZ down 1.5 per cent to $28.05 and NAB down 2.3 per cent to $29.02 after announcing that it faced additional costs of $1.18 billion related to customer remediation and software changes.

Hub24 dropped 7.1 per cent to $11.27 and Macquarie was down 4.1 per cent to $50.37.

In the mining sector, BHP was down 1.9 per cent to $36.30, South32 drooped 3.8 per cent to $2.55 and Rio Tinto fell 1.6 per cent to $91.09.

Among goldminers, Evolution was down 0.2 per cent and Newcrest dipped 0.1 per cent, but Northern Star jumped 2.5 per cent as the price of the precious metal fell to $1475 an ounce.

In the health care sector, CSL dropped 1.6 per cent to $234.65 but Mayne Pharma shot up 18.9 per cent to 63 cents after announcing it had signed a 20-year deal with Belgium-based Mithra Pharmaceuticals to commercialise Mithra’s next-generation contraceptive pill Estelle in the United States.

Real estate shares were down just 0.4 per cent, with Vicinity Centres up 1.2 per cent and Lendlease rising 0.7 per cent.

The Aussie dollar is buying 67.02 US cents, after briefly dipping to as low as 66.73 cents against the US dollar on Tuesday – a 10 and a half year low.

In cryptocurrency, Bitcoins were trading for around $A12,320 on Australian exchanges, down 2.5 per cent.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 102.9 points, or 1.53 per cent, at 6,639.9 points.

* The All Ordinaries closed down 99.7 points, or 1.45 per cent, to 6,753.3 points.

* At 1713 AEST the SPI200 futures index was down 11points, or 0.15 per cent, to 6,602.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.02 US cents, flat from Tuesday

* 72.18 Japanese yen, from 72.55

* 61.37 euro cents, from 61.59 cents

* 54.66 British pence, from 54.57 pence

* 107.33 NZ cents, from 107.55 cents.

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