The Australian share market lost more than one per cent, with financial stocks weighing heavily as renewed fears about a global growth slowdown gripped investors pessimistic about dour economic data from China.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 59.6 points, or 1.05 per cent, at 5602.0 at 1615 AEDT on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries lost 0.99 per cent.
The slowing of retail sales and industrial production in China for November compounded investor sentiment still nervous about the wider impact of the unresolved trade dispute, CommSec market analyst James Tao said.
“It gave the impression that the Chinese economy is just not hitting the highs that it once was,” he told AAP.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand said it’s considering almost doubling the required capital banks would need to hold to bolster the financial system’s capacity to handle any shocks dragged financial stocks lower.
Shares in Australia’s big four banks fell on the news as all operate within New Zealand.
ANZ suffered the biggest loss, down 2.7 per cent to $24.80, and NAB the least, losing 1.7 per cent to $23.69.
Energy shares were higher at the open but fell consistently through the day despite higher oil prices.
Santos and Oil Search, both down 2.3 per cent, dragged the indices lower, while Origin, Woodside and Caltex were between 0.7 and 1.4 per cent lower.
The miners also reversed earlier gains, with Fortescue down 2.1 per cent to $4.12, BHP lost 1.3 per cent to $32.40, and Rio Tinto was 1.5 per cent weaker at $74.57.
South32, however, rose 0.9 per cent to $3.28.
Shares in Nine Entertainment plummeted nearly nine per cent after major investor Deutsche Bank halved its stake in the newly merged media giant, while fellow telco TPG lost ground again.
It was down 2.3 per cent to $6.30 the day after the competition watchdog raised concerns about its planned merger with Vodafone Australia.
The healthcare sector was lower despite a dramatic jump from Sigma, up 43.2 per cent to 58 cents.
Drug distributor Australian Pharmaceutical Industries – up 8.5 per cent – offered about $727 million to buy Sigma, aiming to consolidate in the face of increased competitive and regulatory pressures.
The utilities and property trusts sectors were the only two to eke out gains.
The Australian dollar lost momentum on the economic data from China and was buying 71.93 US cents at 1630 AEDT, from 72.29 US cents cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 59.6 points, or 1.05 per cent, at 5602.0
* The All Ordinaries was down 56.5 points, or 0.99 per cent, at 5678.8
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 36 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 5612
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 71.93 US cents, from 72.29 US cents on Thursday
* 81.63 Japanese yen, from 82.03
* 63.31 euro cents, from 63.61
* 56.95 British pence, from 57.30
* 105.81 NZ cents, from 105.32
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1241.2 per fine ounce, from $US1244.7 on Thursday.