Aust stocks dive again, hit 14-month low

There's no bottom in sight for the Australian share market, which has shed all of Tuesday's gains to close at its lowest level in 14 months.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed on Wednesday down 213.7 points, or 3.6 per cent, finishing on the day's low at 5,725.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index closed down 206.5 points, or 3.44 per cent, at 5,789.3.

The ASX200 has now lost 20.4 per cent of its value in just 14-and-a-half trading sessions and has sunk to its lowest level since January 8, 2019.

"It's been an interesting one," said Pepperstone head of research Chris Weston.

"It's quite bizarre we've fallen as much as we have, considering the rest of Asia has been mixed.

"There's been no sudden jolt in the market, just a slow bleed."

Every sector except property was down at least two per cent, with financials the worst hit, losing 5.3 per cent, amid concern about the downward pressure on rates caused by the coronavirus impact on the economy.

Commonwealth Bank fell 6.6 per cent to a more than one-year low of $68.50 while the other big four banks were at their lowest levels since 2001.

NAB dropped 6.3 per cent to $19.78, ANZ descended 5.5 per cent to $19.96 and Westpac dropped 5.3 per cent to $19.46.

The trio are all down nearly 20 per cent on the year.

Woolworths fell 3.5 per cent to a six-month low of $36.05, while Wesfarmers dropped 3.6 per cent to a seven-month low of $37.50.

Mining giant BHP fell 2.5 per cent to $28.52, and Rio dipped 1.1 per cent to $82.71.

Goldminers dropped even as the price of the precious metal jumped 0.8 per cent to $US1,662 an ounce.

Evolution fell 7.5 per cent, Northern Star dropped 5.1 per cent and Newcrest dropped 8.6 per cent after downgrading its production guidance in part after production issues at its Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea.

Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals was the biggest ASX200 loser, falling 13.0 per cent to a four-and-a-half year low of 20 cents.

In the tech sector, Afterpay dropped 8.6 per cent to a four-month low of $27.03.

Futures had pointed to a local rally on Wednesday after Wall Street soared overnight on US President Donald Trump's promise of a major stimulus announcement to ease the impact of the coronavirus.

But sentiment soured after the details failed to appear as promised, CMC Markets and Stockbroking chief strategist Michael McCarthy said.

Helloworld Travel dropped 7.1 per cent and Webjet descended 5.2 per cent after both companies withdrew their fiscal 2020 guidance because of the coronavirus.

The Australian dollar was buying 65.05 US cents, down from 65.62 US cents at the market close on Tuesday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday down 213.7 points, or 3.6 per cent, at 5,725.9 points

* The All Ordinaries closed down 206.5 points, or 3.44 per cent, at 5,789.3 points

* The SPI200 futures index closed down 237 points, or 3.97 per cent, at 5,728 points

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 65.04 US cents, from 65.50 US cents on Tuesday

* 67.82 Japanese yen, from 68.60 yen

* 57.32 euro cents, from 57.67 cents

* 50.30 British pence, from 50.20 pence

* 103.44 NZ cents, from 104.06 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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