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The Australian market is having its worst day in seven weeks as concerns of a global slowdown continue. The ASX 200 is down by 2.09 per cent or 135pts to 6501. This follows a big tumble for stocks in both the US and Europe due to generally disappointing economic data on jobs and manufacturing in recent days and fears of a widening trade war. The local market is on track to record its worst weekly fall of 2019.

Last night, the World Trade Organisation approved the US move to impose tariffs on around $7.5bn worth of European goods. The Brexit mess remains and the US and China are set to hold influential talks next week in Washington.

All sectors are currently in negative territory with six of 12 sectors slumping by more than 2 per cent. Energy stocks are faring worst, down by more than 3 per cent on a softer oil price. The commodity has fallen on growth concerns, softer data and a lift in oil inventories in the US.

A bright spot for the market is the gold sub-sector. A flight to safety has helped push the price of the precious metal higher. Companies like Newcrest (NCM), Northern Star (NST) and Evolution Mining (EVN) are lifting strongly.

Webster (WBA) is surging by 52 per cent on news the walnut and cotton producer has agreed to an $854m takeover by Canada’s largest pension investment manager.

Mesoblast (MSB) has completed a $75m capital raising which it says will be used to build up product inventory and to better focus on the US. MSB shares are slumping by 6.5 per cent.

AMA Group (AMA) is up by more than 6.5 per cent after successfully raising $102m to help pay for the purchase of Suncorp’s smash repairs business announced recently.

CIMIC (CIM), Seek (SEK), Costa Group (CGC) and G8 Education (GEM) are all set to pay eligible investors dividends today.

Australia has recorded another solid trade surplus of $5.9bn in August. A 3.4 per cent slide in exports and 0.4 per cent drop in imports however, has meant the surplus was around $1.3bn below the July result. The iron ore price fell sharply in August from its highs a month earlier.

1.3bn shares have changed hands so far today worth a heavy $3.6bn. 297 stocks are up, 713 down and 330 are flat.

Published by CommSec