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Aussie shares are kicking off the holiday-shortened trading week with the biggest tumble of 2020, as concerns of the coronavirus continue. The ASX 200 is down by ~100pts or 1.34 per cent to 6995. While the index is below 7000pts for the first time in a fortnight, the local market is still up by ~4.5 per cent in January; making it the best month in three and a half years.

The coronavirus has now infected close to 3,000 people and killed over ~100 (mostly in China) according to Bloomberg. Global markets are remaining on edge due to worries that the virus could impact growth, spending and tourism in China and other countries. The US market slumped by as much as 1.9 per cent last night following a near 1 per cent slide a day earlier.

Travel related companies are among the hardest hit at lunch. Qantas (QAN) is down by 5.1 per cent, online travel agent Webjet (WEB) is down 10.2 per cent, Flight Centre (FLT) is losing 3.6 per cent and Sydney Airport (SYD) is slipping by 2 per cent.

Heavy falls from mining stocks in London and a 2.5 decline for oil are weighing on our resource stocks. Fortescue Metals (FMG) is down 7.4 per cent after hitting a record high last week. Both BHP and Rio Tinto (RIO) are shedding 3.6 per cent.

The defensive nature of the market is helping push gold miners and the odd healthcare stock higher. Perseus (PRU), Evolution (EVN), Northern Star (NST) and Newcrest (NCM) are all lifting. CSL continues to go from strength to strength, with the second largest stock on the ASX up ~0.6 per cent to ~$313 per share.

Oil Search (OSH) released its 4Q19 update, with production up just 3 per cent, while sales volume jumped by 22 per cent and revenue gained 24 per cent. OSH shares are down by ~8 per cent following a weaker oil price.

According to a monthly NAB business survey, business confidence is at a 2013 low while conditions also eased. NAB noted Australia’s bushfire crises did not appear to negatively impact conditions in December but could in January.

1.6bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $3.2bn. 266 stocks are up, 870 are down and 323 are flat.

Published by CommSec