Australian Market Sharply Lower

The Australian stock market is sharply lower on Thursday, giving up the gains in the previous session, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 falling below the 7,300 mark, following the mostly negative cues from global markets overnight, amid the turmoil in the banking sector following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the U.S., and the debt woes of Swiss lender Credit Suisse.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is losing 106.00 points or 1.50 percent to 6,962.90, after hitting a low of 6,911.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is down 112.00 points or 1.54 percent to 7,151.10. Australian stocks ended significantly higher on Wednesday.

Among major miners, BHP Group and Fortescue Metals are losing more than 3 percent each, while Rio Tinto and Mineral Resources are declining more than 4 percent each. OZ Minerals is flat.

Oil stocks are mostly lower. Beach energy is losing almost 3 percent and Woodside Energy is declining almost 4 percent, while Santos is slipping more than 3 percent. Origin Energy is down more than 1 percent.

In the tech space, Appen and Xero are losing almost 1 percent each, while WiseTech Global is declining almost 2 percent. Afterpay owner Block is gaining more than 2 percent and Zip is adding almost 1 percent.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank is losing more than 1 percent, while National Australia Bank, Westpac and ANZ Banking are declining almost 2 percent each.

Among gold miners, Northern Star Resources is gaining 1.5 percent, Gold Road Resources is advancing more than 3 percent, Evolution Mining is adding almost 3 percent, Newcrest Mining is up almost 2 percent and Resolute Mining is rising more than 2 percent.

In other news, shares in financial services firm Latitude Group Holdings and IP law business IPH Ltd are in a trading halt after revealing cyber incidents.

In economic news, the unemployment rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 3.5 percent in February, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday. That was beneath expectations for 3.6 percent and was down from 3.7 percent in January. The participation rate was 66.6 percent, in line with expectations and up from 66.5 percent a month earlier.

In the currency market, the Aussie dollar is trading at $0.663 on Thursday.

On Wall Street, stocks came off the session's lows on Wednesday, but still ended on a weak note, with bank stocks feeling the brunt of selling pressure. In addition to ongoing concerns about turmoil in the financial sector following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, short-term debt woes of Swiss lender Credit Suisse contributed to the bearish sentiment in the market.

The major averages all recovered well from the day's lows, but the Nasdaq managed to close with a small gain. The Dow ended down 280.83 points or 0.87 percent at 31,874.57, nearly 450 points off the session's low of 31,429.82. The S&P 500, which fell to 3,838.24, ended at 3,891.93, losing 27.36 points or 0.7 percent. The Nasdaq, which tumbled to 11,238.44, settled at 11,434.05, gaining 5.90 points or 0.05 percent.

The major European markets all moved sharply to the downside on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 plunged 3.83 percent, Germany's DAX tumbled 3.27 percent, and France's CAC 40 dropped 3.58 percent.

Crude oil prices plunged to their lowest level since December 2021 on Wednesday, amid rising concerns about global economic growth and worries about the outlook for energy demand after data showed an increase in U.S. crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate futures for April tumbled 5 percent at $67.61 a barrel.

For comments and feedback contact: editorial@rttnews.com

Market Analysis

Follow RTT