Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Australian Stock Market Hits 2 Year Low

Shares on the Australian Stock Market hit their lowest level in 2 years today. The All Ordinaries index closed just under 4,800 after falling about 1.5%. And this was after a fall of over 1.6% yesterday. You need to go back to early 2006 to see the All Ords at a level below this. The following graph shows the performance of the Australian Stock Market over the past 2 years.

Australian Stock Market PerformancePerformance of Australian Shares

The sell-off was triggered by news of the collapse of Lehman Brothers over the weekend and the sale of Merril Lynch. Lehman Brothers, a large United States investment bank, filed for bankruptcy protection under the US Bankruptcy Code - from what I've read, it's the largest filing in US financial history.

As you would expect, Aussie financial stocks were down significantly on news out of the US. All of the major Australian banks withe the exception of Westpac were down today. Investment bank Macquarie Group (MQG) was down $4.55 yesterday and another $2.66 today to finish the days trading at $36.80. And poor old Babcock & Brown (BNB) was down a lazy 33.5% today to a closing share price of $1.05 - a long way off its 52 week high of $31.08.

While the recent financial turmoil has claimed it's share of victims on the Australian stock market, I wonder whether the worst is over yet. Investors should be taking a good hard look at their portfolios, particularly shares in companies with excessive debt. And if you're taking advantage the bargains on offer at the moment, discretion as advised.


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