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Share market plunges to three-year low

Can the stimulus package put out the coronavirus fear? Image: Getty

The Australian share market has suffered another day of carnage after US President Donald Trump's stimulus news failed to ease concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed down 421.3 points, or 7.36 per cent, at 5,304.6 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index dived 418.4 points, or 7.23 per cent, to 5,370.9.

In percentage terms it was the worst losses for the ASX200 since October, 10 2008, surpassing Monday's 7.33 per cent selloff.

The Australian dollar meanwhile was buying 64.55 US cents, down from 65.05 US cents from at the market close on Wednesday.

The losses deepened this morning after Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled his $17.6 billion stimulus package.

There was a brief upswing on news Mr Trump would make an address at noon Australian time - then it plunged after he said the pandemic was not a financial crisis and announced a 30 day travel ban to Europe.

CommSec market analyst James Tao said investors had been hoping for more detail Mr Trump's major stimulus package and those hopes were dashed pretty quickly.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 performance over the last 12 months. Image: Trading Economics

"There was some expectation that he might give a bit more detail about the financial side of things but that didn't really come through," he told AAP.

Energy, materials, consumer discretionary and health care stocks were smashed on Thursday but the panic sell was across the board.

Woodside fell 54 cents to $20.46 and BHP lost 96 cents to $27.56 at noon. BlueScope gained again, rising nine cents to $10.28.

Empty shelves in an Australian supermarket after panic buying due to the coronavirus. Woolworths has seen its stocks rise. Image: Getty

Supermarket giant Woolworths was also among the few stocks on the rise just after midday.

It was 38.5 cents, or 1.07 per cent, higher at $36.43 at 1210 AEDT while rival Coles was nine cents, or 0.59 per cent, lower at $15.18.

Gold miners were hammered on Thursday after gold prices fell overnight as traders sold the precious metal to cover margins for stock markets shaken by the global spread of coronavirus.

Newcrest had fallen $1.65, or 6.2 per cent, to $24.98 by 1210 AEDT while Northern Star dropped 58.5 cents, or 4.5 per cent, to $12.405.

US equity markets plunged on Wednesday after details of a promised major US government stimulus response failed to appear and the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

The Australian dollar was buying 64.60 US cents at 1310 AEDT on Thursday, down from 65.05 US cents from at the market close on Wednesday.

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