Australia Stocks Follow U.S. Peers To Sharp Loss

MarketWatch Pulse

Australian stocks went from weak to weaker in early Wednesday trading, with the S&P/ASX 200 falling 1.2% after the previous session's 0.2% dip, plumbing lows not seen since February. The latest cuts to the International Monetary Fund's economic forecasts, which helped send U.S. shares to a sharp pullback Tuesday, also weighed on Sydney, as miner stocks got slammed despite overnight gains for some commodities, such as gold and nickel. BHP Billiton Ltd. lost 2.3%, Oz Minerals Ltd. fell 2.1%, Newcrest Mining Ltd. gave up 2.8%, and Rio Tinto Ltd. was 2.3% lower after gains in the previous session, when it disclosed Glencore PLC had offered to buy it back in July. Shares of BC Iron Ltd. retreated by 2.2% as the ore extractor said it wouldn't extend its tender for Iron Ore Holdings Ltd. past its Oct. 14 deadline, according to Reuters. Iron Ore Holdings shares traded 3.9% lower. The heavily weighted financial sector also took a hit after the Wall Street losses, with Australia & New Zealand Banking Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia off 1.2% apiece, while Macquarie Group Ltd. lost 1.9%, and Suncorp Group Ltd. fell 1.8%. Media was another weak spot, with News Corp. (the corporate parent of MarketWatch) losing 3.4%, and rival Fairfax Media Ltd. down 3.8%.

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