Shares have closed sharply lower in broad-based falls, as investors digested the tensions sparked by Donald Trump’s order halting some immigration.
“There’s a lot of information to digest at the moment, it’s almost as if investors are too overwhelmed to put any dry powder to work,” said Gary Huxtable, client adviser at Atlantic Pacific Securities.
President Trump’s signing multiple daily executive orders is leading to rapid change within the global political landscape and is making it difficult for investors to appropriately price in risk, he said.
“When you throw into the mix that US economic data disappointed on Friday, our commodity market darlings are taking a breather for Lunar new year, and local earnings season is starting to kick off, it’s been a difficult day for investors to move into positions with much clarity and confidence,” Huxtable said.
The ASX fell 0.9 per cent to 5661.5, led down by steep losses in Aconex following a profit warning.
The software company’s shares plunged 45 per cent to $3.10 after it lowered its profit forecast by about a third.
The big banks all shed around 1 per cent, as did Telstra and Woolies, while BHP slipped 0.6 per cent.
Among the winners were gold miners, with Newcrest jumping 1.3 per cent. QBE initially rallied more than 5 per cent following reports German insurer Allianz was mulling a takeover offer, but the gains quickly evaporated after the Aussie firm denied any kind of talks.