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ASX Today: Red, red, red as oil crash thrashes all sectors

After a promising start to the session, the ASX has ended the day once again in the red, bringing a three-week peak to a close.

While the S&P/ASX 200 nudged into 5400 point territory within the first 15 minutes of trade, the rise wasn't to last. The principle index closed down over 30 points, or 0.58 per cent. Meanwhile, the All Ords failed to fare much better, sitting at 5305.1 points and down 0.35 per cent come market close.

The ASX 200 was a mixed bag today as 98 of the tops stocks recorded a fall, while 93 enjoyed a share price spike. Polynovo led the run into the green on the back of three strong announcements. The medtech provided a revenue update, clinical trial results, and a new loan from NAB.

Over on the sector board, results were also varied. The often-volatile IT stocks led today's green pack, recording a 2.68 per cent spike. Quantify doubled its share price on the back of yesterday's major order.

Consumer and health care stocks, however, failed to pack a punch. Conglomerate Wesfarmers slumped 3.76 per cent. Close behind, supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles each posted losses. Metcash led the bleed, dropping 4.71 per cent by the bell.

Even healthcare giant CSL couldn't escape the red, dropping 2.47 per cent.

Among the big four, NAB bore the worst of the losses, closing 2.06 per cent in the red. Westpac followed 1.53 per cent down, while ANZ and CBA tailed the fall with 1.33 and 0.96 per cent slumps.

A key indicator of uncertainty, the ASX volatility index, remained high today. The index hit 34.7 points by market close, indicating there's more uncertainty to come in April. Nevertheless, it's a far cry from the staggering 82.7 point spike in mid-March.

Despite the volatility, almost all international markets were in the green come market close. In the US, the Dow was up 7.73 per cent, while the S&P 500 delivered a 7.03 increase. The Hang Seng delivered a 2.21 spike by the bell.

Meanwhile, in commodities, gold posted green. The precious metal delivered a 1.16 per cent rise to trade for US$1716 an ounce.

Similarly, oil prices are staging a comeback. The volatile future made a 2.19 increase by market close as it attempts to cover this year's 57.99 per cent fall.

Today's ups and downs

Compound developer Metalsearch rose 50 per cent in midday trade. The company secured an exclusive global license from the University of Queensland to use its synthetic zeolite processing tech. Metalsearch also shuffled its board and brought on a new COO to commercialise its Abercorn Project.

88 Energy, however, is in deep waters. Mixed results at its Charlie-1 oil well sent investors running for the hills. A mass tradeoff saw shares slip from two cents each to just 0.9. Despite the drop, 88 Energy says it'll continue to work on an action plan as it reassesses its options. Only time will tell if the move comes to fruition.


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