(Updates to close)
March 22 Australian shares saw their worst day
this year on Wednesday, led by financials, mirroring the sharp
overnight fall on Wall Street.
The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell more than a percent after investors saw the Trump
administration's struggles to push through the healthcare
overhaul as a sign he may also face setbacks delivering promised
corporate tax cuts.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 90.1 points or 1.56
percent to 5,684.5 at the close of trade, down for a third day,
and recording its lowest since March 1.
The financial index shed 2.08 percent, its worst
single-day percentage fall since November 2016, tracking similar
losses in its U.S. financial counterpart.
ANZ Banking, Westpac Banking Corp and
Commonwealth Bank of Australia fell more than 2 percent
Mining giants Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton and
Fortescue Metals Group fell 2.6 percent, 2.9 percent
and 5.3 percent, respectively after copper, steel and iron
prices dropped on Tuesday. [MET\L]
Gold stocks, however, jumped after prices held steady near a
three-week high as risk-averse investors sought safer
The gold index rose as much as 3.34 percent and hit
its highest in three weeks.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index slipped
0.35 percent or 24.71 points to finish the session at 7,060.83.
Losses were led by industrials, with Auckland International
Airport slipping 2.2 percent.
Westpac's NZ shares were the biggest losers on the
index, down 2.72 percent.
(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by