There has been no respite for investors on Friday as the Aussie market follows another sell-off on Wall Street. The ASX 200 has now plunged a further 389 points or 7.3% to 4915, the lowest levels since April 2016. This follows what was the biggest single day decline on US markets since the “Black Monday” market crash of 1987. All three major US indices fell near 10%. Market fears over the spread of the coronavirus outbreak and perceived lack of government responses has seen investors increasingly unsettled. Asian markets are also trading significantly weaker.
The ASX 200 is on track for a 21% fall this week. Losses on Friday are again widespread with every sector deeply in negative territory. Of the top 200 stocks, only two are advancing. These are Fortescue Metals (FMG) lifting 1.3% and IDP Education (IEL) which is 2.7% higher. The remaining stocks are in the red.
The financial sector is one of the main weights with the big four banks all sharply lower. The National Bank (NAB) and Westpac (WBC) are falling the most with a 12% slide, NAB is trading at the lowest levels since 2009. WBC has also received a fresh class action from shareholders in relation to its handling of alleged Anti-Money Laundering (AML/CTF) breaches. ANZ Bank (ANZ) is also falling over 10% while Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is faring best with a decline of 7%.
Travel stocks are again seeing some of the largest percentage declines with further pressure added to the industry following the 30 day US travel ban on mainland Europe. Flight Centre (FLT) is slumping 16% after announcing that it could close up to 100 underperforming stores in Australia, it will look to move affected staff to other stores. The travel agent has also suspended its FY20 earnings guidance due to the uncertainty around the coronavirus outbreak. Virgin Australia (VAH) also suspended FY20 earnings guidance while cutting further capacity to domestic and international flights. VAH was down as much as 16% but is now trading flat. Qantas (QAN) has lost another 14%.
The Aussie dollar hit fresh 11 year lows of 62.1 US cents inthe early part of the morning but has since recovered to buy 62.8 US cents.
So far, 2.5b units have traded worth $6.5b with 74 stocks higher, 1202 weaker and 225 unchanged.
Published by CommSec