Billions wiped off companies listed on Australian exchange : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Mon, Apr 17 2000 2:42 PM AEST

Billions wiped off companies listed on ASX

Around $35 billion has been wiped off the market value of companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

High-tech share prices have crashed and the big blue chip stocks are all showing significant losses.

The shake-out has been triggered by a weekend slump on New York exchanges.

With Wall Street's inflation-spooked Dow Jones index down almost 6 per cent and the Nasdaq high-tech barometer plunging almost 10 per cent, the writing was on the wall for the local market.

"It has basically been marked down absolutely, certainly no panic," said deputy chairman of Ord Minnett, Eric Gale.

At its lowest, the All-Ordinaries index was down 207 points, or 6.7 per cent - slumping below 3,000 points for the first time since last November.

The market has now stabilised at its new lower levels.

The Australian Stock Exchange staggered its opening this morning over 20 minutes, instead of the usual 10.

Just three minutes later, the All-Ordinaries index was at its low for the day, down 207 points.

At 2pm AEST, it was down 168 points or 5.4 per cent.

That means $35 billion has been stripped from the value of listed companies.

At 2,928, the All-Ords is the lowest it has been since November last year.

The media sector is down 13 per cent, telecommunications stocks are down 8 per cent.

And the technology heavy Miscellaneous Industrial index has plunged 14 per cent.

There have been big falls on Asian sharemarkets with Tokyo down 6.9 per cent, and Hong Kong dropping 8 per cent in value.

News Corporation has dived $2.90 to $17.70.

Telstra is down 37 cents to $7.12.

High-tech shares have borne the brunt.

Between 20 and 35 per cent has been stipped off the value of companies including BMC Media, Catuity, Davnet, ecorp, Liberty One, New Tel, Reckon, Sausage Software and Spike Networks.

Mr Gale says the key will now be how New York performs tonight.

"I do not think the market is going to be awash with bargain hunters here today," he said.

"I think they will be more circumspect than that and they will just wait and see what unfolds in the next couple of days in the overseas markets."


The Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney attracted more than its usual share of onlookers for the start of trade this morning.

A large but subdued crowd of around 300 gathered in the foyer of the stock exchange in Sydney to be among the first to see just how the world's market turmoil would impact on Australia.

But most, like Jason seem to have made the trip more out of curiosity than of genuine fear for their financial fate.

"Not really, I am not a big player of the technology stocks, I am more so the blue chips and more so the long terms, so I am not really concerned about what happens," he said.

But irrespective of what the market may do throughout the day there is one person who will definitely benefit.

Chancey Hammond who runs the coffee stand at the entrance to the exchange says business has already doubled today.

"That is why we are in the food business," he said.

"Whether it is a boom or a bust, we still have to sell food and coffee, so there you go."

Asian markets

The plunge in share prices is being repeated across Asia.

From the opening bell, the Tokyo stock exchange plunged 4 per cent and then fell vertically.

It is now down 7 per cent with the traders warning ominously that no-one yet believes it is a good time to buy.

Across the Sea of Japan in Korea, trading was suspended for 20 minutes after the index plunged 10 per cent within minutes of the opening bell.

It appears to have stabilised down around 11 per cent, but one trader is quoted as saying it is now meaningless to talk of a bottom to the Korean market.

Confidence has been fragile since the Asian economic crisis.

Korea had just emerged from several years in recession.

-- Martin Thompson (, April 17, 2000

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