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ASX plunges 187 points in global sell-off

Derek Rose
The futures market is pointing to a fall of two per cent for the ASX at the open

The Australian share market has shed more than $63 billion in its worst day in 18 months amid a global market meltdown as investors worry a recession is near.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Thursday tumbled 187.8 points, or 2.85 per cent, to 6,408.1 points while the broader All Ordinaries shed 186.7 points, or 2.8 per cent, to 6,490.8 points.

It was the ASX200's worst day since February 6, 2018, when the index lost 192.9 points, or 3.2 per cent.

"I think we're in for a lot more pain for the months ahead," said Xchainge founder Nick Twidale, who said he stood by his prediction from after last week's two-day, 291-point sell-off that the market could lose half its gains for the year.

Despite three weeks of losses, the ASX200 is still up 761 points, or 13.5 per cent, since January 1.

"I think there could be a significant downside correction to come in the next month of so," Mr Twidale said, adding the only thing he saw that could boost the market would be a US-China trade deal.

The global rout came after investors poured money into long-term US bonds, dropping yields on 10-year bonds temporarily below the yield on two-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007.

A similar yield curve inversion has occurred before each of the past seven recessions and investors pulled billions from global markets on fears it was signalling another.

In Australia, energy and tech shares had the largest losses, sliding 5.3 per cent and 4.9 per cent, respectively.

Most sectors were down at least 2.0 per cent, with property groups the least hit with 1.7 per cent losses.

Santos, Oil Search, Origin Energy and Beach Energy fell between 3.5 and 6.7 per cent after crude prices dropped below $US60 a barrel while Woodside Petroleum fell 6.7 per cent after the oil and gas producer cut its interim dividend.

Wisetech Global, Afterpay, Appen, Altium and Xero fell between 3.5 per cent and 7.3 per cent.

Mining giant BHP was down 2.8 per cent to $36.39, Rio Tinto was down 2.6 per cent to $85.60 and Fortescue Metals was down 0.8 per cent to $7.50.

Goldminers were among the very few winners as the price of the precious metal climbed back up to $US1,510.

Northern Star, St Barbara and Evolution were up between 1.6 and 1.8 per cent.

Cryptocurrencies proved no safe haven, with Bitcoin down 8.7 per cent to $A14,230 or $US9,579 on Sydney exchange the Independent Reserve.

The big four banks were lower, with ANZ down 3.0 per cent to $26.23, Commonwealth down 3.0 per cent to $74.34, NAB down 3.1 per cent to $26.80 and Westpac down 3.2 per cent to $27.61.

Telstra was down 1.8 per cent to $3.87 after the telco reported a 40 per cent fall in full-year profit to $2.15 billion.

Super Retail Group was the ASX200 component up the most, by 4.2 per cent to $9.04, after recording an 8.6 per cent rise in full-year profit.

Blackmores tumbled 14.9 per cent to a four-year low of $70.90 after the vitamin maker slashed its final dividend.

Orora plunged 15.9 per cent to a three-year low of $2.69 after the packaging company reported its profit had climbed 4.0 per cent to $217 million amid "challenging market conditions".

The local currency lifted against the US dollar after the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced the country's unemployment rate held steady at 5.2 per cent in July.

The Aussie dollar is buying 67.83 US cents, from 67.82 US cents on Wednesday.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 187.8 points, or 2.85 per cent, to 6,408.1

* The All Ordinaries closed down 186.7 points, or 2.8 per cent, to 6,490.8

* The SPI200 futures index closed down 161 points, or 2.46 per cent, to 6,374

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.83 US cents, from 67.82 cents on Wednesday

* 71.75 Japanese yen, from 72.14 yen

* 60.83 euro cents, from 60.64 cents

* 56.25 British pence, from 56.25 pence

* 105.28 NZ cents, from 105.07 cents.