The Australian share market has tumbled, with investors rattled by concerns about the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, and the selling could continue, with US futures sharply lower.
Investors are concerned about the spread of the virus outside China, as Italian authorities scramble to contain new coronavirus COVID-19 infections in the country’s north and South Korea has reported a jump in new cases.
A growing list of Australian and global companies have issued warnings about the direct hit they are taking from the spread of the coronavirus.
All sectors of the local Australian market closed in negative territory, with gold miners dominating the handful of stocks that ended higher.
Around $51 billion in value was wiped off the broader All Ordinaries index.
The energy sector fell 3.7 per cent to hit its lowest level since October, as crude oil prices fell on renewed worries the coronavirus outbreak could hurt demand.
Brent crude was down 2.5 per cent to $US57.07 per barrel.
Global stock markets are falling sharply as investors seek safe havens amid growing fears the coronavirus outbreak will be declared a pandemic.
European shares followed Asia’s lead as the virus took hold in countries beyond China – threatening to inflict deeper damage to the global economy.
In London, the FTSE 100 opened 2% down – and was 2.6% lower in early trading.
Travel-related stocks led the fallers – 99 of them – with easyJet losing 11% and holiday operator TUI down 8.5%.