ASX set to fall sharply

AUSTRALIAN shares look set to fall sharply after key markets around the globe tumble, with the worst falls on Wall Street. At 7am AEDT, the share price futures index was down 88 points, or 1.48 per cent, at 5873.

Key equity markets in the US, Europe, Britain and Asia — bar China — have all declined sharply, with Wall Street the worst performer.

US stocks have been under pressure for the last week as investors weigh the risks of more Federal Reserve interest rate increases following strong economic data

US stocks’ losses accelerated in afternoon trading, pushing the S&P 500 down more than 5 per cent from its January 26 record high and the Dow below 25,000 for the first time since January 4.

The Dow and S&P 500 also fell below their 50-day moving averages, while the Cboe Volatility index was on pace for its largest one-day jump since August 2015.

In late trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 806.76 points, or 3.16 per cent, at 24,714.20, the S&P 500 had lost 82.90 points, or 3.00 per cent, to 2,679.23 and the Nasdaq Composite had dropped 146.55 points, or 2.02 per cent, to 7,094.40.

Locally, in economic news on Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia holds its monthly board meeting and announces its interest rate decision.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases December retail trade figures, plus international trade in goods and services data, also for December. Meanwhile, the ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence weekly survey is due out. No major equities news is expected.

The Australian market on Monday lost about $US33 billion ($F66b) after a sharp fall in US markets last Friday sent local investors running for the exits.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 95.2 points, or 1.56 per cent, to 6026.2 points while the broader All Ordinaries index tumbled 101.4 points, or 1.63 per cent, to 6128.4 points.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is slowly continuing to decline against its US counterpart.

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