SYDNEY, AAP – Shares were on course for their biggest drop in almost three weeks on the Australian market after US indices tumbled from record highs.
The ASX was down by more than one per cent, and all industry categories were lower.
Technology shares fell by more than three per cent, while consumer discretionaries dropped more than two per cent.
There were losses of more than one per cent for industrials, financials, consumer staples, healthcare and telecommunications.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 101.6 points, or 1.38 per cent, to 7239.8 at 1200 AEST on Friday.
Its record close is 7386.17.
The All Ordinaries was lower by 103.2 points, or 1.35 per cent, to 7511.7.
In the US, Wall Street traders raised doubts about the pace of US economic recovery.
The number of US workers applying for unemployment benefits unexpectedly ticked up to 373,000 last week.
Beijing’s ongoing clampdown on US-listed Chinese companies contributed to the risk-averse mood.
The US markets’ drop comes a day after the US S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched record closing highs.
Meanwhile in Australia, banks pledged to help customers affected by the coronavirus lockdown in Sydney and surrounds with mortgage deferrals.
State leaders have tightened rules on residents’ movement after the daily infection count climbed to 44.
On the ASX, instalment payment providers were among the hardest hit technology shares.
Afterpay crashed by 5.98 per cent to $116.25, while Zip fell by 5.12 per cent to $8.33 after gaining more than 13 per cent on Thursday.
There were some big losses in travel stocks as the Sydney lockdown becomes more serious.
Webjet lost 3.71 per cent to $5.05. Corporate Travel Management shed 3.4 per cent to $20.72.
Viva Energy shares were up after the company reported a jump in first-half earnings.
Boss Scott Wyatt said figures across commercial and retail sales had been encouraging despite coronavirus lockdowns and border closures.
Shares were higher by 4.06 per cent to $2.05.
Audio visual equipment provider Audinate climbed after reporting fourth quarter US sales up 74 per cent.
The company said global supply difficulties for components, as well as COVID-19, remained risks.
Shares were higher by 3.59 per cent to $8.93.
The banks were all lower.
The Commonwealth fared worst of the big four and dropped 1.51 per cent to $97.98.
There was a similar tale for the big miners.
Rio Tinto lost 1.37 per cent to $124.49 although BHP and Fortescue shed less than 0.5 per cent.
The Australian dollar was buying 74.12 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower from 75.51 US cents at Thursday’s close.