SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market is having its heaviest percentage fall since September after steep losses on Wall Street.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 143.5 points, or 2.09 per cent, to 6690.5 at 1200 AEDT on Friday.
The All Ordinaries was lower by 152.1 points, or 2.14 per cent, at 6953.6.
The information technology sector fell the most, 5.97 per cent, after the US Nasdaq index slipped by its largest daily percentage in four months.
There were losses of more than two per cent for consumer discretionaries, telecommunications and health.
All other sectors lost more than one per cent.
The plunges come after the 10-year US Treasury note yield rose above the S&P 500 dividend yield, wiping out the stock market yield’s advantage.
Investors opted for the safer Treasury notes and sold stocks.
The S&P 500 index fell 96.09 points, or 2.4 per cent, to 3,829.34. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 559.85 points, or 1.8 per cent, to 31,402.01. The Nasdaq slid 478.54 points, or 3.5 per cent, to 13,119.43.
In the currency market, the Australian dollar climbed above 80 US cents late on Thursday night.
Analysts have cited rising yields for the Aussie 10-year bond as a reason. The Aussie dollar is needed to buy the bonds.
Meanwhile, the two most populated Australian states, NSW and Victoria, have relaxed coronavirus restrictions further as they remained free of infections.
More people are allowed at cinemas and gyms in NSW, while Victoria has allowed larger gatherings, particularly outdoors.
On the ASX, Afterpay plunged 10.91 per cent to $119.70 amid the technology fire sale.
AMP said US investment group Ares will buy most of its private markets business.
The two companies will form a joint venture for the business, which includes infrastructure equity and debt as well as real estate.
Ares will buy 60 per cent of the joint venture for $1.35 billion.
AMP shares were higher by 3.94 per cent to $1.45.
Harvey Norman continues to enjoy soaring sales through the pandemic after posting a 116 per cent rise in first-half earnings.
The furniture, electrical and whitegoods retailer on Friday reported first-half sales climbed 25 per cent and contributed to a net profit after tax of $462.03 million.
Sales were up 21 per cent from January 1 to February 23 compared to the same time last year.
Shareholders will receive a fully franked interim dividend of 20 cents per share. The company did not pay an interim dividend last year due to COVID-19.
Shares were down 3.01 per cent to $5.14.
Big miners BHP, Fortescue, Rio Tinto and BlueScope Steel all lost more than one per cent.
In banking, the big four as well as Bank of Queensland and Macquarie all lost more than one per cent.
The dollar was buying 78.46 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 79.71 US cents at Thursday’s close.