- From: The Australian
- August 08, 2011
AUSTRALIAN shares fell almost 3 per cent today, shaving $32 billion in value and closing below 4000 for the first time in two years.After plunging 4 per cent on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 119.3 points, or 2.91 per cent, at 3986.10 today, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 113 points (2.71 per cent) at 4056.70.
Gold was pushed to a record as investors sought safety from falling markets across Asia following Standard & Poor's downgrade of a coveted AAA credit rating held by the US.
The S&P/ASX 200 opened down more than 2 per cent before it recovered ground to be 0.8 per cent lower just after noon. But the bears returned later in the afternoon to push the benchmark below the 4000-level for the first time since July 2009.
By today's close, panicked investors sent the bourse to a 25-month low on fears of a volatile Wall Street on the back of the first ever downgrading of US sovereign debt.
"So, overall, the numbers are not suggesting that there is a recession coming.
"And we're seeing corporate earnings coming through around the globe that are not consistent with the idea that the market is going backwards."
Mr McCarthy said there had been a big surge in trading volumes today, with more than double the usual contracts exchanged, and the futures market had flipped around wildly all day.
Preliminary national turnover was 3.15bn shares, worth $7.8bn, with 196 shares up, 1039 down and 313 steady.
Gold reached a record of $US1704.30 an ounce and the Australian dollar was also traded lower at $US1.0333 recently.
Among gold producers, AngloGold Ashanti put on 27c (3.4 per cent) to $8.21 but Newcrest was 38c weaker at $38.82.
Making market headlines today, JB Hi-Fi posted a near 8 per cent fall in net profit to $109.70 million and revealed plans to expand. JB Hi-Fi shares closed down 35c at $14.00.
The most traded stock by volume was Voyager Resources after the Mongolia-focused explorer announced a major new copper discovery in the South Gobi region.
Voyager finished up 0.5c (10.2 per cent) at 5.4c after almost 125m shares changed hands.
With AAP, Dow Jones Newswires