SYDNEY, AAP – Investors have been having a terrible time on the ASX, with the market looking set to deliver its second-biggest loss of the month.

The ASX fell steadily during early trade on Friday and was down 1.65 per cent after continued fears about rising rates on Wall Street.

Every share category was lower.

The commodity stocks of energy and materials lost three and two per cent respectively. Utilities were two per cent lower.

There were losses of more than one per cent for health care, consumer discretionaries, financials, technology, telecommunications and property.


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The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 121.4 points, or 1.65 per cent, to 7221 points at 1200 AEDT.

The All Ordinaries index was lower by 131.6 points, or 1.71 per cent, to 7537.3 points.

Earlier, US markets each fell about one per cent amid concerns the Federal Reserve will aggressively hike rates to control inflation.

The central bank has a meeting next week to consider rates although most expect the first rises will happen in March.

On the ASX, there was plenty of news among big miners.

Serbia revoked Rio Tinto’s lithium exploration licences, bowing to protesters who opposed the project on environmental grounds.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the government’s decision came after requests by green groups to halt the $US2.4 billion Jadar lithium project.

Rio was down 3.43 per cent to $109.51.

BHP investors in Australia and the UK have voted for all shares to trade on the ASX.

The UK business makes less than five per cent of its earnings and the company can reduce costs by scrapping shares on the London exchange.

A UK court must approve the scheme on January 25.

BHP was down 3.32 per cent to $46.41.

The other major iron ore miner, Fortescue, shed about two per cent to $20.95.

Whitehaven Coal lowered full-year production and sales forecasts after heavy rain and pandemic worker shortages affected its December quarter.

The company is more than halfway through its fiscal year and said coal production was down about five per cent.

Shares dropped 8.13 per cent to $2.71.

Analytics software vendor Nuix had more misery on the market after revealing another first-half loss is likely.

The forecast after-tax loss was between $2 million and $3.5 million, although this would be better than the previous first-half loss of $16.6 million.

Earnings were also tipped to be higher and sales stable.

Investors sent shares lower by 17.23 per cent to $1.70.

Fertility care provider Virtus Health was buoyed by Victoria lifting coronavirus restrictions on IVF procedures.

The measures had been in place since earlier this month due to the Omicron wave of infections.

Victoria was the only region where Virtus operations were under such limitations.

Shares were up almost one per cent to $7.27.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.96 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 72.31 US cents at Thursday’s close.