A controversial levy imposed on financial institutions in the European island of Cyprus sent shockwaves through local markets today, as investors bet the Eurozone debt crisis is far from over.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 1, 2011.
Worries that the move, which has prompted thousands of Cypriots to withdraw their money from banks over the weekend, could spread to other European nations prompted the selling.
The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed lower by 2% today after rising by 1.7% on Friday.
Banks and mining players bore the brunt of the selling, with shares in Westpac (WBC) down 3% to $29.97 and Rio Tinto (RIO) lower by 2.9% to $59.55.
In economic news today, total lending finance fell by 4.8% in January after rising by 4.4% in December. Lending is tracking sideways but is down 4.5% on a year ago.
According to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average Australian price of unleaded petrol rose by 1.3 cents to 151.2 c/l in the week to March 17.
Meanwhile, over the year to February 2013 a record 1,125,174 new vehicles were sold with 313,711 being 4WD vehicles. In seasonally adjusted terms vehicle sales were flat in the month.
On the market overall, a total of 1.8 billion shares were traded, worth $5.6 billion. 298 were up, 686 were down and 353 were unchanged.
At 5.30pm AEDT the SFE 200 Futures was at 5010, up 4pts.
Ahead tonight, the NAHB housing market is released in the US.
The Dow Jones Futures Index is suggesting Wall Street will fall by 1% tonight, on the back of the Cyprus concerns.
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