ASX plunges again on pandemic fears

The Australian share market has plunged 2.36 per cent in a sell off across the board after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic and US equity markets plunged overnight.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 135.3 points, or 2.36 per cent, at 5590.6 points at 1043 AEDT on Thursday while the broader All Ordinaries index dropped 135.9 points, or 2.35 per cent, to 5,653.4.

The market was down nearly two per cent when Prime Minister Scott Morrison began unveiling his governments' $17.6 billion stimulus package on Thursday morning, but the sell off continues.

Energy, materials, consumer discretionary and health care stocks were smashed after half an hour of trading on Thursday but the panic sell was across the board.

Supermarket giant Woolworths was one of the few stocks to rise. 

It was eight cents, or 0.22 per cent, higher at $36.13 at 1030 AEDT while rival Coles was 11 cents, or 0.72 per cent, lower at $15.16.

Gold miners were hammered on Thursday after gold prices fell overnight as traders sold the precious metal to cover margins for stock markets shaken by the global spread of coronavirus

Newcrest dived $1.37, or 5.14 per cent, to $25.26 after half an hour of trading while Northern Star dropped 51 cents, or 3.93 per cent, to $12.48.

US equity markets plunged on Wednesday after a promised major US government stimulus response failed to appear and the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic, ANZ's morning focus note says.

"Not only has the US been slow in rolling out testing for the virus, but the promised fiscal response is also slow coming. In Europe, COVID-19 news is bleak, with deaths in Italy escalating sharply," it said.

The Australian dollar was buying 64.76 US cents at 1043 AEDT on Thursday, down from 65.05 US cents at the market close on Wednesday.

Total Shareholder Return as at 30/06/16

1 year TSR5 year TSR
176thRio Tinto12%-1%
273rdCommonwealth Bank-7%14%
669 WA (and selected non WA) listed companies ranked by 1 year TSR relative to other companies with similar revenue
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3rd↓Rio Tinto$49,225.3m
4th-Commonwealth Bank$27,005.0m
76 listed non wa companies ranked by revenue.
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