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$80b wiped off market as investors spooked

A SIX-DAY losing streak has wiped almost $80 billion off the Australian sharemarket, as Europe's debt woes continue to rattle investors.

A SIX-DAY losing streak has wiped almost $80 billion off the Australian sharemarket, as Europe's debt woes continue to rattle investors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 59.4 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 3984.3, under the 4000 point mark for the first time since October 5.

Investors grew impatient after the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, again ruled out joint euro borrowing.

A director at E. L. & C. Baillieu Stockbroking, Richard Morrow, said Australian shares were operating in an "incredibly weak" global setting.

Mr Morrow said investors were clinging to bad news to justify selling their stocks. "The mood is negative at the moment, all news is bad."

He said national turnover was inflated by the expiry of exchange traded options, and the market was much less active than it appeared.

Mr Morrow said the US market would open lower after the Thanksgiving holiday, but it was unlikely to impact the local market until Tuesday. "There won't be many participants in the US market, most people would have taken the sensible option and gone on holiday for the long weekend."

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is headed for its fourth consecutive week of declines as Europe's debt woes hit investor confidence.

National Australia Bank's head of research, Peter Jolly, said the currency was down more than US3? for the week amid concerns Europe's financial crisis will intensify. It has dropped about US10? in a month, and closed in Sydney yesterday at US96.95?, from US97.09? on Thursday.


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