The Australian share market has had a horror trading session, opening in the red and continuing to plummet in afternoon trade closing 2.88 per cent lower. Japanese shares have hit the skids, plunging more than 5 per cent as the yen gets stronger; this follows a sell-off in US markets overnight. While also sectors closed the day in negative territory, it was the financials space namely the big four banks that were responsible for dragging down the index. ANZ lost 4 per cent, CBA and NAB closed more than 4.5 per cent lower, while Westpac was hit the hardest losing more than 5 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 143 points lower to finish at 4,832.
The value of trades was $6.1 billion on volume of 877 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
, National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB)
and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
On the futures market the SPI is 147 points lower.
Business confidence in Australia is holding up despite global economic uncertainty and volatile financial markets. According to NAB’s monthly business survey, business confidence was unchanged in January with a reading of +2, while business conditions slipped to a reading of 5, which is said to be average.
Southern Cross Media Group Limited (ASX:SXL)
has entered into a long term contract with the Australian Traffic Network for it to provide traffic reports for broadcast on SCA radio stations. SCA will receive payment from ATN in return for its stations broadcasting advertising tags attached to news and traffic reports. The contract value is worth $207 million. Shares in Southern Cross Media closed 1.8 per cent up at $1.13.
National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR)
has recorded a 30 percent increase in total revenue to $37.3 million for the six months to 31 December 2015.
SCA Property Group (ASX:SCP)
has recorded a statutory net profit of $90.8 million in the first half, a 7.5 percent decline from a year earlier.
Mobile Embrace Limited (ASX:MBE)
has announced a 13 percent rise in net profit to $2.6 million for the six months ended 31 December 2015.
Best and worst performers
The sector with the least losses was Utilities slipping 1.1 per cent to close at 7,063. The worst performing sector was Financials excluding REITs, losing 4.4 per cent to close at 6,105 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was OzForex, rising 12.85 per cent to close at $2.02. Shares in Regis Resources and Newcrest also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Broadspectrum, dropping 13.15 per cent to close at $1.09. Shares in Bank of Queensland and APN Outdoor Group also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,193 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.77 lower at $US30.12 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7030.