It is a sea of red for local shares following a steep sell off in US markets overnight. The ASX 200 is sliding 121 points or 2.1% to 5707. Worries over global economic growth saw all major US indices slump, with the tech heavy NASDAQ entering correction territory (down 10% or more from its recent high) and suffering its worst one-day performance since August 2011.
All sectors are in negative territory with more than 90% of ASX 200 stocks under selling pressure. Financials and materials are the two biggest contributor to broader losses. The big four banks are all weaker and BHP (Billiton (BHP) is the biggest individual drag as it slips 2.9% although some gold stocks are improving.
It has also been a busy morning for companies announcing quarterly updates. Qantas (QAN) is down 3.5% after announcing a 6.3% lift to its 1Q19 revenue to $4.41 billion, with the rising revenue and capacity discipline partially offsetting a rise in higher fuel costs. QAN anticipates fuel costs to rise ~8% to $4.09 billion for FY19.
AMP Ltd (AMP) is down 9% on news it is looking to sell its Aust/NZ wealth protection business for $3.3 billion after completing a review of its entire operations. AMP also noted challenges for its Australian Wealth management arm with cash outflows of $1.5 billion for the quarter.
Retailer, JB Hi-Fi (JBH) is declining 2.8% as comparable sales growth slow for the 1Q19 compared to this time last year for its Australian stores (+3.4%) and the Good Guys chain (+1%). Its NZ stores outperformed with near 10% growth. JBH reaffirmed total FY19 sales of ~$7.1 billion. Blackmores (BKL) has increased quarterly revenue by 15% to $154 million while net profit lifted to $16.5 million. BKL shares are down 1.8%.
Fortescue Metals (FMG) iron ore shipments fell to 40.2Mt with costs higher for 1Q19. FMG did maintain its FY19 guidance. Logistics software firm, Wisetech Global (WTC) has upgraded its FY19 earnings guidance as the company continues to expand through acquisitions. WTC shares are one of a few advancers, up 0.3% along with miner Lynas (LYC), climbing 2.7% on its quarterly update.
The AUD has softened a touch from yesterday to 70.7 US cents. So far, 1.5B units have traded worth $2.5B with 153 stocks higher, 919 lower and 289 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec