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11/12/18
       
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The Australian share market slumped to a two-year low, weighed down by the major banks as hopes for a trade resolution between the US and China continue to dissipate.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 129 points, or 2.27 per cent, at 5552.5 on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries fell 2.26 per cent at 5627.50.

The positive sentiment from the temporary truce struck at the G20 summit between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping has faded.

This was compounded by weaker than expected November import and export trade data out of China as well as the escalation of hostilities between the two superpowers after the arrest of a senior executive of Chinese electronics giant Huawei.

Internet and technology shares took the biggest hit during a broad sell-off on Wall Street on Friday, with the benchmark S&P 500 index posting its biggest weekly percentage drop since March.

ASX tech stocks followed suit, with Afterpay Touch tumbling 5.7 per cent to $11.97, while Wisetech Global, Altium and Xero lost between four and 4.8 per cent.

But the financials were the heaviest drag with ANZ suffering the biggest loss of the big four lenders, down 4.2 per cent to $24.64, Westpac and Commonwealth fell 3.4 and three per cent respectively, and NAB slipped 2.5 per cent to $23.39.

Macquarie's shares fell three per cent to $109.89 and Bank of Queensland was 3.2 per cent lower as it scrapped the $65 million sale of its St Andrew's Insurance business to the beleaguered Freedom Insurance Group.

The health care sector fell 3.7 per cent, dragged down by benchmark CSL, losing nearly four per cent to $176.64, and Cochlear, losing nearly five per cent to $165.73.

Consumer stocks were once more in the doldrums against a backdrop of worries over spending and the energy sector fell despite oil prices edging higher on an OPEC-led cut, dragged down by New Hope and Soul Pattinson losing 3.7 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively.

Oil Search, Woodside and Santos all eked out a gain, however.

Materials lost ground as South32, Rio Tinto and BlueScope all lost ground, but BHP rose 0.4 per cent to $31.29.

Gold miners were more consistent after prices surged to a five-month peak, with Northern Star up 2.7 per cent to $8.42, and Regis Resources rose 5.2 per cent.

International Markets

Gains among technology companies helped the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average index recoup much of an earlier 500-point loss that would have pulled it into correction territory.

The S&P 500 added 0.2 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.7 per cent.

Apple, Microsoft and IBM posted modest gains, helping to steady the index, which has fallen more than 1500 points over the past four sessions because of US-China trade tensions.

Major indexes wobbled most of the day as trade tensions weighed on investors, particularly in light of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's pledge on Sunday to impose further tariffs and sanctions against China if the two countries fail to reach a deal by the end of the 90-day truce.

A plunge in oil prices and May's decision to delay a vote on Brexit compounded investors' global anxieties and dragged the Dow industrials down as much as 508 points at one point.

Source: Morningstar

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