The Australian sharemarket has wiped out most of last Friday's impressive gains, with the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) down 1.3 per cent or 66.2 pts to 5063.1. Cyprus, the Eurozone's third smallest economy has received a €10 billion assistance package, backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A one-off tax of as much as 10 per cent on Cypriot deposit accounts has created some concerns of bank runs.
A man's shadow is cast on monitors displaying stock market prices inside a brokerage in Taipei November 10, 2011.
The defensive telcos are the only winners today, with Telstra (TLS) up 0.55 per cent or 3 cents to $4.53. TLS shares are up 3.9 per cent this year and are adding to the 31 per cent improvements recorded in 2012.
Earlier in the session, Commonwealth Bank (CBA) briefly overtook BHP Billiton (BHP) as the largest listed company on the Australian sharemarket. Both companies are worth around $112 billion on the local market. CBA is up more than 11 per cent in 2013, while BHP has slumped by 6.2 per cent.
The once-in-a-decade transfer of power has been completed in China, our largest trading partner. The current head of its central bank is staying on to continue his work, while sustainable economic growth has been announced as a top priority. Chinese shares are largely flat this year, significantly underperforming the Australian market which is up by more than 10 per cent since January.
On the economic front, a report has shown that there was no change in the number of new motor vehicles sold in February. Previously, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has already reported that 90,218 new cars were sold in February, a 5.2 per cent rise on a year ago.
Looking ahead, the Reserve Bank's board minutes from its March interest rate meeting will be out on Tuesday. In the region, an update on the health of China's manufacturing sector will be out on Thursday. In the Eurozone, manufacturing data, consumer confidence, trade and business confidence figures will be issued while concerns about Cyprus are likely to remain. The Federal Reserve in the U.S. will be holding its two day meeting mid-week.
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