The ASX 200 plummeted 193 points (-4.6%) to close the week at 3984 – its lowest close in over a month.
The bears were in control all week, ensuring every day of the week closed below the previous day.
Concern over whether global debt problems would limit the banks’ access to overseas funding hurt the big four.
NAB (ASX:NAB) was the hardest hit, with a massive 7% loss, whilst rival Westpac (ASX:WBC) had 4.3% wiped off its share price.
Australia’s biggest steel stocks had a week from hell; BlueScope (ASX:BSL) nosedived 38% after a capital raising, while concerns rival OneSteel (ASX:OST) might have to do the same saw its share price crash 15.4%
The energy majors also struggled; Santos (ASX:STO) dropped 4.3%, while rival Woodside slumped 4.5% announcing weaker than expected production targets for CY12.
Retails also had a bad a week, JB Hi-Fi shed 4%, while David Jones crashed 15.5% after it reported lower-than-expected sales in the first quarter of 2012.
Supermarket giant Woolworths held up better than most to record only a 1.5% decline.
Economic News: What Does it Mean?
There was a lack of local economic data releases last week, with only of note being Construction Work numbers.
The ABS released figures showing the biggest quarterly rise in construction work in at least 25 years.
Total construction work soared more than 12% in the third quarter, which shattered analyst expectations of a 2.1% rise.
While the data was a good sign for the economy, it was completely ignored by the market, which remained focus on Europe’s debt woes and a slowing Chinese economy.
In the week ahead we have retail sales data, which is slated for release on Thursday. This will be the first gauge of retail sales since the RBA cut rates early in the month.
There will be an expectation of a 0.4% monthly gain in retail sales.
Overseas Market and Commodity Wrap:
It was rough week in overseas markets, with many European markets slumping to their lowest levels since early October.
Europe had another chaotic week; a German Bond sale received little interest from investors whilst Italian yields continued to soar. Ratings agency Moody’s added to the global uncertainly after it expressed concerns about France’s outlook.
Some of the biggest losers in the European markets were the UK FTSE (-3.7%), the German DAX (-5.3%) and the French CAC (-4.7%).
Debt fears weren’t just contained to Europe. In the US, the Congressional debt super-committee failed to agree on debt reduction measures, leaving another 12 months of uncertainty as to how the US will cut its deficit.
The US markets all finished sharply lower, with the Dow (-4.8%), S&P 500 (-4.8%) and Nasdaq (-5.1%) suffering their biggest weekly falls in a month.
Asia was not spared from the turmoil, the Hang Seng fell -4.3% and the Shanghai Composite Index sank 6.0%.
Weaker-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data hurt commodities. There was some big losses in Aluminium (-5.6%) and Palladium (-6.2%).
Oil and Gold both finished lower for the week, with a 0.9%, and 2.3% loss, respectively.