Global gloom drives Aussie market down
AUSTRALIAN shares are on track to lose all their gains for the week with local stocks sharply lower at lunchtime under the weight of weak US markets, a global bond selldown and geopolitical worries over North Korea.
All sectors of the ASX plunged into the red from the open of trading yesterday and the benchmark S& P/ ASX200 stock index was down 1.4 per cent at noon AEST.
The weak morning follows a drop in US stocks overnight, after disappointing private labour market data signalled possible weakness in official non- farm payroll figures due out last night.
Globally bonds have come under pressure after the European Central Bank’s latest minutes indicated it may wind back its bond- buying program, with pessimism flowing on to equities, while rising tensions in the Korean peninsula are providing additional pressure.
In the local market, losses have been led by energy and healthcare stocks. Energy shares Woodside Petroleum and Santos were down by more than 2 per cent, with oil prices remaining weak despite a slight uptick overnight. The health sector slipped as shares in overseas- exposed Cochlear and CSL shed about 2 per cent.
Mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton were also trading slightly lower following a drop in the iron ore price and the big four banks were down more than 1 per cent.
Coca Cola- Amatil shares were down more than 5 per cent, continuing Thursday’s decline after news broke that the company lost a contract with Domino’s pizza chain and had also failed to get its latest no- sugar offering on the shelves of Woolworths.