The Australian sharemarket’s decline eased up in afternoon trade, partially bouncing back from a slump of 2.1 per cent. The afternoon session’s partial recovery could not muster enough strength to stop the Australian benchmark from finishing at a three-week low.
Losses in financials, materials and industrials painted the broad picture of the market red, as the sell-off resulted from expectations of ahead-of-schedule interest hikes by the US Federal Reserve.
The healthcare sector was today’s main exception, as gains by health stocks fought the tide in a sea of losses.
Gains by healthcare players CSL (ASX:CSL)
and Ramsay Healthcare (ASX:RHC)
of 0.1 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively by 4pm, offset a part of the the broad-based retreat.
At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 1.81 per cent or 133.60 points lower at 7235.30.
The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 67.00 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 6.50 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 8.00 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 130 points when the market next opens.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector was Consumer Staples, up 0.22 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down 3.42 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Afterpay (ASX:APT), closing 2.46 per cent higher at $117.21. It was followed by shares in Megaport (ASX:MP1) and Altium (ASX:ALU).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Codan (ASX:CDA), closing 11.80 per cent lower at $17.05. It was followed by shares in Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) and NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH).
Japan's Nikkei has lost 3.29 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 1.44 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 0.09 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1778.69 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.90 per cent lower at US$218.90 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 7.90 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.17 higher at US$68.24 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.08 US cents.