All Westpac’s fault, or was there something more behind the big two day fall in the ASX on Wednesday and Thursday?
Unease about Donald Trump’s trade war with China, his weakening position in the impeachment proceedings in the US Congress, or just a mix of all these and some profit-taking markets at or above record levels in the past week?
The ASX 200 lost 49.5 points, or 0.7%, to finish at 6672.9 – with Wednesday’s 1.3% slump, the two-day percentage decline of 2% was the largest since early October.
Australia’s fall was matched by markets in China, Hong Kong and Japan with analysts attributing that to fears about the state of the trade war with China.
Those falls were a follow on from small losses on Wall Street on Wednesday.
As on Wednesday, every sector on the ASX 200 index fell, led by falls of 0.8% plus for tech, industrials, utilities, healthcare, materials and financials.
Westpac Bank shares fell a further 2% to $25.16, closing at fresh 10-month lows and taking the two-day loss to more than 5% and over 12% in the past month.
Webjet lost 6% to $12.11 after its rise on Wednesday. Mineral Resources lost 5.5% to $13.92 following a series of broker downgrades.
Gains were few – Monadelphous Group rose 3% after announcing a contract win from Rio Tinto late Wednesday and BlueScope Steel shares rose 2% to $14.25.
That was despite confirming a 71% slump in first-half profit for the six months to December 31.