Investors on the Australian share market have felt the fallout from US markets closing at lows previously recorded in July, as the Aussie indices plunged below 6000 points.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was down 69.4 points, or 1.14 per cent, to 5988.3 at 1200 AEDT on Thursday.
The index fell as low as 5947.7 after about 90 minutes, and has recovered a little since.
The All Ordinaries was down 70.7 points, or 1.12 per cent, to 6191.1.
Information technology was hardest hit, down 2.15 per cent, while energy had a 2.09 per cent drop.
Materials, which includes the miners, lost 1.8 per cent while financials shed 0.93 per cent.
Wall Street’s big slide came as coronavirus cases soared globally and investors worried about the possibility of a contested US presidential election next week.
The economic picture is different in Australia.
Business conditions are improving as the economy opens from COVID-19 restrictions, as shown by the results of National Australia Bank’s September quarter business survey.
Conditions improved 22 points in the quarter to an index of minus four points, while confidence was up five points to an index of minus 10 points.
National Australia Bank chief economist Alan Oster says policy support has been crucial for business.
ANZ Bank reported a 42 per cent drop in full-year cash profit after loan losses increased, triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lender also declared a final dividend of 35 cents per share, down from last year’s payout of 80 cents per share.
ANZ’s move to declare a lower dividend was in line with a directive by regulators.
Shares were down 1.98 per cent to $18.78.
Westpac said it had settled two class actions in the US.
One was filed in 2016 over trading activity in the Australian bank bill swap reference rate market.
The bank had already set money aside for this.
The other, filed this year, was about disclosure notices connected to the bank’s financial crime obligations between 2015 and 2019.
This settlement was not material, the bank said.
Shares were lower by 1.58 per cent to $18.02.
The Commonwealth was up 0.05 per cent to $68.48 and NAB was down 0.9 per cent to $18.71.
Fortescue Metals has posted a five per cent rise in first-quarter iron ore shipments, with demand in China for the steelmaking ingredient remaining robust.
Shares were down 0.33 per cent to $16.42. BHP lost 1.84 per cent to $34.13, while Rio Tinto shed 1.44 per cent to $90.61.
Earlier in the US, rising infection rates and politicians’ failure to reach a deal on new fiscal stimulus before the November 3 election drove all three stock indexes to close more than 3.0 per cent lower.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 939.13 points, or 3.42 per cent, to 26,524.06, the S&P 500 lost 119.26 points, or 3.52 per cent, to 3,271.42 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 426.48 points, or 3.73 per cent, to 11,004.87.
The Aussie dollar was buying 70.59 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 71.44 US cents at the close of trade on Wednesday.