The Australian sharemarket has once again been shocked by overnight coronavirus developments, routing $30 billion in minutes upon opening.
As of 10.30 AEDT the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 115 points or 2.02 per cent after global fears gripped investors following the announcement the World Health Organisation has classified coronavirus as a pandemic.
Webjet was one of the hardest companies hit, falling 7.51 per cent, while much of the miners and minerals industry also suffered heavy losses in early trade.
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The ASX 200 is now at its lowest point in 14 months.
"Markets appeared concerned at the lack of US government response to date, the WHO officially declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, and the number of new cases ex-China rose sharply," Westpac finance's morning note said.
The Australian dollar was buying 64.84 US cents at 1015 AEDT on Thursday, down from 65.05 US cents from at the market close on Wednesday.
Overseas Wall Street stocks have plunged, with the Dow confirming a bear market for the first time since the financial crisis after the World Health Organisation called the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
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All three major US stock averages ended the session sharply lower, with the benchmark S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite index both about 19 per cent below their February 19 record closing highs.
A bear market is confirmed when an index closes 20 per cent or more below its most recent closing high.
Market participants were further rattled following a Reuters report that the White House had ordered top-level coronavirus meetings to be classified.
- With additional reporting by AAP
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/asx-200-plunges-on-world-health-organisation-pandemic-classification/ac91c01c-550a-4a63-8165-99040f9363e3