The Australian share market finished volatile session steep lower on Friday, 27 March 2020, amid broadbased selloff late afternoon, as uncertainty over the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak continues to weigh on investor sentiment. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 270.86 points, or 5.3%, to 4,842.43. The broader All Ordinaries declined 261.03 points, or 5.08%, to 4,874.16. Despite the late plunge, the index still managed to finish the week with a gain of 0.5%.
Australia will be introducing enforced quarantine by midnight on Saturday for citizens returning home from overseas, as the number of coronavirus cases surpassed 3,000 on Friday from less than 100 at the start of March, raising fears of a community spread. Economists expect a six-week widespread shutdown in second-quarter and then a progressive relaxation will see gross domestic product slump 13% over the quarter.
Meanwhile, listed companies in Australia and New Zealand have already laid off or began considering laying off at least 106,955 people, temporarily or permanently, underlining the toll on livelihoods as virtual lockdowns take hold.
All sectors finished lower, led by REITs which tumbled 8.7%.
Healthcare also slumped 7.1%. Among the big names, Scentre Group tanked 12.5% to A$1.51 while Goodman Group shed 10.7% to A$11.13. CSL fell 7.6% to A$279.12
Heavyweight financials sub-index declined, with all the Big Four banks finishing firmly in the red , led by ANZ with a fall of 7.4% to A$15.47.
CURRENCY: The U. S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.187 after falling from levels above 100 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6087 after seeing levels below $0.58 earlier in the trading week.
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First Published: Fri, March 27 2020. 13:55 IST