The Australian share market slumped to a two-year low, weighed down by the major banks as hopes for a trade resolution between the US and China continue to dissipate.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 129 points, or 2.27 per cent, at 5552.5 on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries fell 2.26 per cent.
The positive sentiment from the temporary truce struck at the G20 summit between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping has faded, CommSec market analyst James Tao said.
This was compounded by weaker than expected November import and export trade data out of China as well as the escalation of hostilities between the two superpowers after the arrest of a senior executive of Chinese electronics giant Huawei.
“After the G20 it was looking like there was a road to some kind of truce, but as we’ve progressed it feels like there’s less certainty on what both countries have actually agreed to at the summit,” Mr Tao told AAP.
Internet and technology shares took the biggest hit during a broad sell-off on Wall Street on Friday, with the benchmark S&P 500 index posting its biggest weekly percentage drop since March.
ASX tech stocks followed suit, with Afterpay Touch tumbling 5.7 per cent to $11.97, while Wisetech Global, Altium and Xero lost between four and 4.8 per cent.
But the financials were the heaviest drag with ANZ suffering the biggest loss of the big four lenders, down 4.2 per cent to $24.64, Westpac and Commonwealth fell 3.4 and three per cent respectively, and NAB slipped 2.5 per cent to $23.39.
Macquarie’s shares fell three per cent to $109.89 and Bank of Queensland was 3.2 per cent lower as it scrapped the $65 million sale of its St Andrew’s Insurance business to the beleaguered Freedom Insurance Group.
The health care sector fell 3.7 per cent, dragged down by benchmark CSL, losing nearly four per cent to $176.64, and Cochlear, losing nearly five per cent to $165.73.
Consumer stocks were once more in the doldrums against a backdrop of worries over spending and the energy sector fell despite oil prices edging higher on an OPEC-led cut, dragged down by New Hope and Soul Pattinson losing 3.7 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively.
Oil Search, Woodside and Santos all eked out a gain, however.
Materials lost ground as South32, Rio Tinto and BlueScope all lost ground, but BHP rose 0.4 per cent to $31.29.
Gold miners were more consistent after prices surged to a five-month peak, with Northern Star up 2.7 per cent to $8.42, and Regis Resources rose 5.2 per cent.
The Aussie dollar recovered ground after it had threatened to hit a six-week low against the US dollar, but was still just 72.17 US cents at 1630 AEDT compared to 72.29 on Friday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 129 points, or 2.27 per cent, at 5552.5
* The All Ordinaries was down 130.4 points, or 2.26 per cent, at 5627.5
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 117 points, or 2.06 per cent, at 5550
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 72.17 US cents, from 72.29 US cents on Friday
* 81.17 Japanese yen, from 81.63
* 63.13 euro cents, from 63.56
* 56.61 British pence, from 56.61
* 104.72 NZ cents, from 105.05
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1249.15 per fine ounce, from $US1239.41 on Friday.