Global investors ran screaming for the exits today, as uncertainty surfaced around Dubai’s ability to repay some AUD$70 billion of dollars of debt.
The former high-flying emirate has only requested a delay in payment until May 2010, but with some analysts calling the last six months an “echo bubble”, no-one wants to be overexposed to the market if things go pear-shaped again.
The Australian market plummeted almost 3% with financial sector stocks among the hardest hit.
Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) dropped $2.41, over 5% to $45.34. The National Australia Bank lost $1.12 or almost 4% and Westpac dropped 92c to close at $23.13
Qantas (ASX:QAN) shares were also hit badly, slipping 11c or 4% to $2.53 Another downturn in the economy would certainly hit travel shares, but given the current uncertainty is Dubai-related one wonders if there might actually be upside for Qantas, with potentially reduced government subsidies for its arch-rival Emirates.
Network Ten (ASX:TEN) slipped 10c or 6.49% to $1.44
Roc Oil company (ASX:ROC) also lost nearly 6% to close at 63c.
Pharmaceuticals provided some of the few bright spots in the days trading. Biota (ASX:BTA) gained 1c to $2.62 as investors banked on the flu season bringing in certain profits for the Relenza manufacturer. Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS) gained 2c to $2.45 and Acrux Limited (ASX:ACR) gained 3c to $2.45.
The Telecomms index was the best of a bad bunch losing just 0.6%. Telstra (ASX:TLS) was down 2c to $3.39 and Singapore Telecom (ASX:SGT) was also down by 2c to $2.30
The Nikkei had earlier closed down 3.2% and the Hang Sang almost 5%.
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