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ASX plummets to near two-year lows


The Australian share market has dived to near two-year lows amid a global stock sell-off, with energy and mining stocks bleeding red and the banks also suffering in early trade.

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The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 63.5 points, or 1.12 per cent, to 5,608.3 at 1030 AEDT today, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 68.2 points, or 1.18 per cent, to 5,691.0.

The Aussie has also slipped further, buying 72.14 US cents from 72.76 cents yesterday, and more than a per cent down from the 73.32 cents reached at the weekend.

Plummeting oil prices – weakened by wider uncertainty in global equities – has decimated local energy stocks, with the sector dropping by more than 3 per cent early on.

Beach Energy was down 7.51 per cent, Origin and Worley Parsons fell more than 5 per cent, Santos more than 4 per cent, and Whitehaven Coal more than 3 per cent, while Woodside Petroleum, Caltex, Oil Search, and Soul Pattinson dropped by between 2.08 per cent and 0.51 per cent

Falling energy shares had also contributed to Wall Street’s overnight slump, where trade tensions and a sell-off in technology stocks caused havoc.

Heavyweight materials stocks weighed significantly at today’s open after metal prices took another hit overnight, with BHP down 2.57 per cent to $31.85 and Rio Tinto down 2.55 per cent to $77.84.

Fortescue Metals, BlueScope Steel, South32 were down by between 2.94 and 3.79 per cent.

Health care was the only bright spot for the bourse after sector giant CSL jumped 0.89 per cent to $177.32, and Sonic Healthcare also lifted on a stronger earnings report.

The big four banks were all down, with the losses led by ANZ, which posted a 0.77 per cent drop to $25.105.

Tech shares continued to fall, losing more than 2.8 per cent early, with telco stocks also down.

Telstra lost 1.16 per cent to $2.975.

Meanwhile, troubled discount retailer The Reject Shop has received a $78 million takeover bid after it had slashed its profit guidance by 40 per cent in October.



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