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ASX finishes lower as new Covid strain stokes fear

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
Unable to marshal the right cells and molecules to fight off the invader, the bodies of the infected instead launch an entire arsenal of weapons — a misguided barrage that can wreak havoc on healthy tissues, experts said. (Getty Images)
A new strain has investors worried. (Getty Images)

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 (^AXJO) has finished 1.05 per cent lower after a rough day of trade, and a soft start from overseas. That took it to 6,599.60 points.

The broader All Ordinaries index (^AORD) was also lower, down 1.08 per cent to 6,845.50 points at the close of trade on Tuesday.

The resources sector led the fall, with Mesoblast, Silver Lack, Ramelius and Mesoblast all trading lower on Tuesday.

A2 Milk, Netwealth and Scentre group were among the stocks posting the biggest gains.

What’s going on with the share markets?

The Australian share market dropped at the open on Tuesday as concerns about a new strain of coronavirus ricochet through global markets.

The ASX200 fell 0.41 per cent in early trade to 6,462.50 points. It worsened its slide in midday trade, down 0.88 per cent to 6,610.30 points at 12:08 pm AEDT.

The All Ordinaries also fell 0.40 per cent to 6,892.10 points by 10:45 am AEDT. It fell 0.87 per cent lower to 6,864.10 points by midday.

The new strain is considered to be 70 per cent more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain and has seen the UK shut down almost altogether.

The UK’s FTSE 100 index fell 2.11 per cent during Monday trade, wiping off more than $59 billion in minutes.

The virus’s passage through the UK compounds the country’s Brexit troubles as it still struggles to advance trade talks with the European Union ahead of the transition period’s 31 December deadline.

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said there’s no need for alarm over the mutation, describing it as a normal part of virus evolution.

"Being able to track a virus this closely, this carefully, this scientifically in real time is a real positive development for global public health, and the countries doing this type of surveillance should be commended,” WHO emergencies chief Mike Ryan said.

The WHO said it has seen no evidence that this new strain is more deadly than others.

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