After what looked to a promising steadier start to the Wednesday session, the local sharemarket slipped off the rails, with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index plummeted +340 points, or -6.43% to close at 4,953, a close below 5,000 points last recorded back in since April 2016.
The value of the index has now fallen to a whopping $665 billion since historical highs of just four weeks ago at 7,197.
The catalyst for this morning’s reversal was from the Australian Federal Government’s warning that extreme social isolation measures could last for several months which includes a reduction in the size of the mass-gathering ban to just 100 people for indoor events. The outdoor limit remains for gatherings up to 500 people.
On top of this, there have been further restrictions put in place for aged-care visits and international travel, though schools are remaining open for the time being.
The Infotech sector was the significantly hit on the ASX after nose-diving, as buy-now-pay-later, Afterpay, lost a third of its value after plummeting -33.05% to $12.76.
Meanwhile, EML Payments plunged -23.7%, while Zip Co dropped -17.8%, and Flexi-group tumbled -22.4%, with Xero fell -9.8%, and Computershare dropped -6.24% and WiseTech sank -6.24%.
The entire real estate sector closed lower with shopping centre owners like Scentre Group plummeted -16.3%, Vicinity was down -11%, and Stockland fell -15%.
National Storage plummeted -28% to $1.29 after a takeover offer from U.S. company Public Storage was withdrawn.
The financial sector dropped by -7.7% and completely reversed yesterday’s gains as the “Fab Four” (banks) and posted some deep losses with ANZ falling the most by -9.67% to $16.92, while Westpac dropping -7.83% t0 $16.40, with NAB falling -6.97% to $16.43 and the Commonwealth Bank was down -5.46% to $65.68.
Meanwhile, Macquarie Group had its single worst day since listing in 1996 after plummeting -12.9% to $91.05.
Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles both losing -0.63% and -1.45%, respectively, while A2 Milk Company closed to a +5.28% gain.
Metcash continued its record run, closing at its highest share price since June 2019 and gaining +2.29%.
Heavyweight iron ore producers weighed on the materials sector with Titans BHP falling -3.79%, and Rio Tinto dropped -3.72%, while Fortescue Metals slumped -3.18%.
Gold miners had a healthy run as Newcrest rose +1.63%, while Northern Star gained +7.82%, Evolution added a +8.82% gains, and Saracen Mineral Holdings advanced +7.02%, and Perseus Mining surged +12.59%.
As for the Australian Dollar, the bears continue to weigh their paws on the local currency as the downward spiral hits a fresh near-17-year low of US$0.5920 and is currently buying US$0.5932 (as of writing).