Australian shares have extended losses to more than 1.5 per cent after data showed Australia’s unemployment rate jumped to 7.1 per cent in May.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index fell to a low of 5888.7 points after the data’s publication, and by 1215 AEST was trading at 5895.1, down 97 points, or 1.6 per cent.
The All Ordinaries index was 97.0 points, or 1.6 per cent lower, at 6011.8.
The Aussie dollar also dropped on the jobs figures, falling from 68.77 US cents at 1129 AEST to a daily low of 68.41 US cents at 1134 AEST.
By 1215 AEST, the Aussie was buying 68.53 US cents, lower from 69.09 US cents at the close of trade on Wednesday.
On the share market, financials were down 1.78 per cent, property was lower by 1.8 per cent and energy lost 1.59 per cent.
The only sectors higher were consumer staples, up 0.20 per cent, and information technology which rose 0.03 per cent.
ANZ was down 2.3 per cent to $18.72, the Commonwealth Bank slipped 1.62 per cent to $68.46, NAB fell 2.37 per cent to $18.51 and Westpac lost 2.20 per cent to $17.75.
Among the big miners, BHP shed 1.36 per cent to $35.53, Rio lost 1.55 per cent to $97.34 and Fortescue dropped 2.43 per cent to $14.26.
Ampol contributed to the big drop in energy stocks with a 3.34 per cent decline to $27.80.
It will not provide profit guidance for the half-year ended June 30, given the unprecedented disruption from COVID-19.
Qantas was down 3.76 per cent to $4.35 after cancelling most overseas flights until late October.
Shares in Australian Finance Group (AFG) bucked the market trend, surging 13.82 per cent to $1.93 after the ACCC said it would not oppose the company’s merger with Connective Home Loans.
Temple & Webster’s shares rose by 5.99 per cent to $5.31 after the online homewares store reported a 90 per cent improvement in second-half revenue to date, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Rival homewares trader Adairs had similar growth. Its shares gained 5.97 per cent to $2.13.
Investor sentiment continued to be weighed down by the sharp rise in the numbers of new cases in several US states even as authorities in China have ramped up mobility restrictions in their efforts to contain a new COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing.