SYDNEY, AAP – The Australian share market has closed down sharply amid growing concerns the global economy will suffer a hard downturn and that the cost of capital will rise.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was saturated with red on Friday, falling 119.5 points, or 1.57 per cent, to close at 7473.3. Miners drove the exchange lower, although all sectors were down with the exception of resilient healthcare stocks and a flat consumer staples index.
The poor sentiment is largely tied to signs in the US that the central bank will aggressively raise interest rates, which includes a possible 0.5 percentage point rate hike in May. There are also growing concerns of a sharp economic downturn in the US and elsewhere, weighing on stock exchanges around the world.
Asian markets suffered a similar fate to their Australian counterpart on Friday, showing the significance of the US to the global economy.
The All Ordinaries index fell 118.9 points, or 1.51 per cent, to close at 7768.2.
Australia’s big iron ore miners were down sharply, led by a 4.36 per cent fall by BHP shares, to close at $48.49.
Oz Minerals disclosed on Friday that copper production had fallen in the March quarter due to bouts of bad weather and the pandemic, prompting a 6.33 per cent fall in its shares.
Healthcare stocks represented a rare bright spot on the exchange, with its index rising 0.54 per cent. Ramsay Health Care, which is subject to a $20 billion takeover led by private equity firm KKR, rose 1.66 per cent to $84.37.
The Australian dollar was buying 73.38 US cents at 1620 AEST, compared with 74.44 US cents when the market closed on Thursday.