22/01/2008 - 15:51

WA shares outfall market with 9.5% plunge

22/01/2008 - 15:51

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Western Australia's biggest stocks were among the hardest hit by today's market jolt, with Woodside Petroleum Ltd, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd and Paladin Energy Ltd all suffering big falls as Perth-based companies lost a collective $13.72 billion.

WA shares outfall market with 9.5% plunge

Western Australia's biggest stocks were among the hardest hit by today's market jolt, with Woodside Petroleum Ltd, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd and Paladin Energy Ltd all suffering big falls as Perth-based companies lost a collective $13.72 billion.

The cumulative fall in WA listed stocks' values was 9.5 per cent, far outweighing the benchmark All Ordinaries plunge of 7.2 per cent, as smaller mining stocks bled badly.

Among the big losers, Woodside dropped $2.8 billion, or almost 10 per cent, FMG dropped $1.72 billion (12 per cent) and Paladin more than $550 million (21 per cent).

Wesfarmers shed more than $1 billion or 5.8 per cent.

But the real blood was among the minor stocks with more than 50 stocks falling more than 27 per cent in the day.

Helicon Group Ltd was the hardest hit for the day, dropping 55 per cent in market capitalisation, followed by Lodestar Minerals Ltd at 45 per cent.

ComputerCORP Ltd, Dynasty Metals Australia Ltd, Metex Resources Ltd and Paramount Mining Corporation Ltd slumped 38 per cent on the day.

The talk all over town was the drastic losses but the poignancy of the day, as likely to mark the beginning of the end for WA's stock market resources boom, was summarised by the observations of one local CEO.

"Lots of sad people around," the executive told WA Business News.

"The icing on the cake was outside the Grand Palace (restaurant) this afternoon at 3.20pm seeing a parking inspector issue a parking ticket to a brand new Maserati - some poor broker who was double slammed today."

"Makes your eyes mist over."

A surprise winner was financial services stock Homeloans Ltd which gained 10 per cent for the day. Other winners were De Grey Mining Ltd and Blina Diamonds Ltd - leading a motley collection of small industrial and mining stocks to enjoy a positive day.

The big market losses came after the market closed down more than 25 per cent since its peak in November, dropping 12 consecutive days, the worst since 1982.

"When we see major falls like this funds go to large cap stocks," Bell Potter head of wealth management Australia Heather Zampatti said.

"It's not surprising that we'd fall more than the average."

"Normally what you'll see is people going for quality and low debt, especially in this environment where debt is expensive."

Ms Zampatti said it was important for investors to look at companies in isolation, especially their historic averages and earnings.

"The fundamentals are looking attractive but you have an overlay of emotion. Words like crash are very emotive."

In the ASX200, four companies are higher since the peak - Futuris Corp Ltd, Consolidated Media Ltd, ABB Grain Ltd and Sims Group Ltd.

How WA's top ten stocks ended today:

Woodside Petroleum Ltd lost $4.53 or 9.96 per cent to $40.97
Wesfarmers Ltd lost $2.00 or 5.8 per cent to $32.50
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd lost 70 cents or 12.28 per cent to $5.00
Paladin Energy Ltd lost $1.03 or 20.72 per cent to $3.94
Aquarius Platinum Ltd lost 66 cents or 5.32 per cent to $11.75
Equinox Minerals Ltd lost 99 cents or 19.41 per cent to $4.11
Jubilee Mines NL lost 50 cents or 2.24 per cent to $21.80
Minara Resources Ltd lost 45 cents or 9.02 per cent to $4.54
West Australian Newspaper Holdings Ltd lost 52 cents or 4.68 per cent to $10.60
Portman Ltd lost 85 cents or 9.6 per cent to $8.00

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