The ASX 200 was down 1.6 per cent, to 7,071 and the broader All Ordinaries index dropped 1.5 per cent, to 7,301
Australian shares have fallen sharply on Thursday, after Wall Street suffered its worst daily sell-off in two years as commodity prices slumped and inflation concerns resurfaced.
The ASX 200 was down 1.6 per cent, to 7,071, by 5:10 am GMT.
At the same time, the broader All Ordinaries index had dropped 1.5 per cent, to 7,301, with all sectors of the market in the red, aside from healthcare.
In dollar terms, around $40 billion was wiped off the value of the local share market in afternoon trade.
Retail stocks were the worst performers, including JB Hi-Fi (-6.2 per cent), Wesfarmers (-7.3 per cent), Super Retail Group (-7.3 per cent), Woolworths (-6.0 per cent) and Harvey Norman (-5.5 per cent).
The nation’s largest companies also posted heavy losses, including Westpac (-4.3 per cent), Rio Tinto (-1.8 per cent), Graincorp (-3.8 per cent), REA Group (-3.2 per cent) and Domain (-3.7 per cent).
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar rose 0.8 per cent, to 70.11 US cents, amid signs that Shanghai is reopening from its strict COVID-19 lockdown, reversing a more than 1 per cent slump for the currency overnight.
Woodside Petroleum shareholders overwhelmingly gave their support to the energy giant’s purchase of BHP’s petroleum business, with more than 97 per cent of votes cast in favour of the deal.
Woodside shares fell 2.3 per cent, while BHP had lost 1.9 per cent by 5:30 am GMT.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones index shed 1,165 points, or 3.6 per cent, to 31,490, its heaviest single-day loss since June 2020. It was the lowest close for the Dow since March 2021.
The S&P 500 closed 4 per cent lower, at 3,924, also its worst drop since June 2020.
Since the year began, the benchmark index is down about 17 per cent.
The Nasdaq Composite plunged 4.7 per cent, to 11,418, the largest drop in the tech-heavy index since May 5.
It has also plummeted about 27 per cent in the past five months.
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