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US markets send Australian and other Asian bourses spiralling

Plunge in US reverberates across Australia and Asia-Pacific markets.
S&P/ASX 200 chart on Tuesday morning
S&P/ASX 200 index falls 3% while Nikkei plunges more than 5%

A 4.6% circa 1,200 point fall in the Dow Jones index placed intense pressure on the S&P/ASX 200 (XJO).

Although at midday it was faring better than some other overseas indices, down circa 3%.

The Nikkei and Hang Seng were down circa 5% and 4% respectively in the first two hours of trading.

Gold miners buck the trend

By comparison, the XJO bottomed out at 5841 points in mid-morning trading, representing a decline of 3.1%.

The only ASX 200 stocks not in the red at midday were gold miners, Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG), but they were only up marginally.

Even the traditionally safe haven gold sector (ASX:XGD) came under pressure, down circa 1%.

Energy and IT stocks hardest hit

The Energy (XEJ) and IT (XIJ) sectors experienced the most sUBStantial falls, with both sectors shedding circa 4.5%.

Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), Origin Energy Ltd (ASX:ORG) and Worley Parsons Ltd (ASX:WOR) were all off more than 5.5%.

WiseTech Global Ltd (ASX:WTC) was the biggest casualty in the IT sector, plunging 10.7% to trade in the vicinity of $14.00.

IPH Ltd announces amalgamation

Patent management group IPH Ltd (ASX:IPH) is amalgamating three of its businesses.

Australian IP firms Fisher Adams Kelly Callinans (FAKC), Cullens and Asia-Pacific IP group Spruson & Ferguson will combine to form one firm.

They will operate under the Spruson & Ferguson brand from April 2018 with full integration expected to be completed in July 2018.

The combined firm will have the largest Australian patent market share of 16% with offices in 10 locations across the Asia-Pacific region.

Magellan’s acquisition fails to inspire investors

Magellan Financial Group’s (ASX:MFG) two acquisitions which provide exposure to North America were poorly timed given the state of markets in that region.

The acquisitions have net funds under management totalling circa $19 billion.

The group has taken the decision to pump US$15 million in cash and approximately 4.5 million of its shares into acquiring businesses that provide diversification.

They also see the additions as strengthening its retail funds management business in Australia and adding significant focus to its institutional distribution activities in North America.

Webjet targeted by UBS

On a day when plenty of investors are taking money off the table, UBS Group AG (NYSEARCA: MORL) waded into Webjet Limited (ASX:WEB), taking a stake of 5.3%.

However, this didn’t appear to boost confidence in the stock as it slid circa 4% to trade as low as $9.51, well shy of its 12 month high of $13.19.

Markets spooked from the outset

It didn’t take long for the negative trends in overseas markets to impact the ASX. In the first 30 minutes of trading the S&P/ASX 200 (XJO) appeared to find a base around 5870 points, representing a decline of 2.5% from the previous day’s close of 6026 points.

While this wasn’t as dire as the 4.6% fall in the Dow, it did appear that there was worse to come.

When the Nikkei plunged from the previous day’s close of circa 22,700 points to less than 21,600 points in less than an hour that was another sign that the steep falls were going to extend well beyond the US.

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