Share market suffers heavy losses amid oil prices, media stocks drag

Investors had nowhere to hide in a day of heavy losses on the share market, with every sector retreating.

Energy shares were punished as oil prices continued to slide, while media stocks were dragged lower by a poor trading update from Nine Entertainment.

The All Ordinaries index lost 70 points to close at 5,000 and the ASX 200 index finished 1.4 per cent lower at 4,924.

Nine Entertainment had the biggest losses on the index — it hit an all-time low, down nearly 24 per cent to $1.16 after a disappointing quarterly update.

Nine said ratings were softer than anticipated at the start of the year, and has warned the advertising market is set to shrink by more than previously forecast.

The broadcaster said bad weather and "the standard of competition" during the summer cricket season dragged on revenue.

The gloom spread across the media sector — rival Seven West Media shed 10.5 per cent to 90 cents.

Sliding oil prices impact stocks

Energy stocks took the biggest hit on tumbling oil prices.

Woodside Petroleum closed at a more than decade low, down 4.2 per cent to $23.94.

LNG Limited dropped 9.7 per cent to 47 cents.

In economic news, the Reserve Bank has kept interest rates on hold at 2 per cent.

It had expressed frustration with the strength of the Australian dollar, saying it could complicate the economy's adjustment to the end of the mining boom.

And Australia's trade position is much worse than expected, with the trade deficit blowing out unexpectedly to a seasonally adjusted $3.4 billion in February.

The dollar rose after the Reserve Bank's interest rate decision was announced, but soon settled back and just before 5:30pm it was buying 75.8 US cents.

It was fetching 66.7 euro cents, 83.7 Japanese yen and 53.2 British pence.

Spot gold is higher at around $1,026 US dollars an ounce and oil prices have dropped again with Brent crude trading at $US37.47 a barrel.

Source: ABC News

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