SYDNEY, AAP – Investors were staring at crushing losses on the Australian market after wide-ranging selling across Asian trade.
The market was down about 1.75 per cent and all categories were lower after inflation fears and debt ceiling negotiations racked Wall Street investors.
ASX technology shares had the steepest fall of more than three per cent. Afterpay was down 3.7 per cent to $122.51.
Materials and healthcare shares fared next worse. Market giant CSL dropped 2.75 per cent to $286.34.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was lower by 128.6 points, or 1.76 per cent, to 7147.
The All Ordinaries was down 133.3 points, or 1.75 per cent, to 7447.8.
US markets slumped after investors lost their risk appetite.
US Treasury yields continued rising as inflation expectations increase. Some fear the US Federal Reserve could shorten its timeline for tightening its monetary policy.
Senate Republicans appeared set to strike down Democrats’ efforts to extend the government’s borrowing authority. This poses a potential US credit default.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says if the debt limit is not raised by October 18 the nation is likely to have a financial crisis and recession.
On the ASX, one of the biggest movers was fleet management provider Smartgroup.
A group of would-be investors have offered to buy all shares for $10.35 each, a 31 per cent increase on Tuesday’s closing price.
The investor group of TPG Global and Potentia Capital will have four weeks to consider the financials of Smartgroup.
Shares were up more than 16 per cent to $9.12.
The big miners were not spared in the selling. Fortescue Metals dropped more than three per cent to $14.41. BHP and Rio Tinto lost more than two per cent.
The banks fared a little better. ANZ was best of the big four and shed almost one per cent to $27.35. The Commonwealth was the laggard and dropped more than two per cent to $101.90.
Energy provider APA Group has extended the time for Victorian electricity provider AusNet to consider its takeover offer.
APA has offered $2.60 per share which it claims is superior to Brookfield Asset Management’s bid of $2.50 per share.
Brookfield is still examining the financials of AusNet under an exclusivity deal.
APA shares were down 0.11 per cent to $8.58.
AusNet shares were up 0.39 per cent to $2.55.
The leaders of market operator ASX say they are investing heavily in technology to strengthen the platform.
Company leaders have told an annual general meeting they are continuing to upgrade technology to prevent a repeat of November’s outage.
Shares were down 1.46 per cent to $80.26.
The Australian dollar was buying 72.34 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower from 72.97 US cents at Tuesday’s close.