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Fresh COVID-19 jitters spooked the market today, causing our primary index to lose roughly $44 billion over the worst day in nine sessions.

A rough night on Wall Street and Qantas’ decision to axe 6000 jobs all contributed to today’s fall, which saw the ASX 200 lose over 100 points to close at 5826 — a 2.34 per cent drop. Meanwhile, the All Ordinaries followed suit — falling from the 6000 mark by 2.4 per cent to 5936.

Combined with rising coronavirus cases across Victoria, it was enough to help the market make up its mind and head south after four days of soft gains and losses.

Only nine companies on the ASX 200 managed to clinch a green finish; Polynovo championed the gainers, while Flight Centre hit the bottom of the list and tumbled 11 per cent on Qantas’ news.

It was also bleak day across the sectors; not one was able to close green.

Healthcare escaped the least scathed, losing just 0.16 per cent right before market close.

The sector was partially buffered by large-cap CSL’s gains, which rose just over half a per cent on a gene therapy acquisition.

At the other end of the scale, more than half of the sectors closed over two per cent down. Energy was hit the hardest with a 4.09 per cent slump, while real estate and financials stocks followed suit with 3.22 and 2.91 respective drops.

Across the big four, NAB was the worst hit with a 3.23 per cent drop. WBC followed suit, also losing over three per cent, while ANZ dipped 2.92 per cent. CBA broke free with the least of the losses, but still closed two per cent down.

Over on international markets, only the Shanghai Composite was green at the Australian close. The Dow Jones is down 2.72 per cent, the DAX 3.43 per cent, and the Nikkei 0.07 per cent.

In commodities, gold continued its upwards run and tacked on another 0.12 per cent to hit US$1777. Oil, however, fell to US$37.75 a barrel, while silver and copper also recorded losses.

Today’s ups and downs

Metalicity (ASX:MCT) shares more than doubled today on “spectacular” first assay results. The new discovery at its flagship Kookynie Project in WA has positioned the explorer to expand its program into three other prospects. Today’s announcement only unveiled results from 11 of the 44 holes planned in the program, which could mean there’s more good news on the way. Following today’s news, MCT closed up a significant 107 per cent, with shares now worth 2.9 cents each.

Meanwhile, coming out of a suspension imposed since July 2018, Benjamin Hornigold (ASX:BHD) shares lost nearly four-fifths of their value. In a general market update released yesterday afternoon, the investor’s new board explained that its fund recovery progress had positioned the company to recommence trading. “We expect to have allayed the issues highlighted while returning the company to a position of financial clarity and stability,” the Listed Investment Company’s board said on Wednesday. Despite the news, BHD shares went into freefall today, dropping 70.4 per cent to trade for 21 cents each.

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