Weekly News Roundup

October 12, 2018

Australian shares ease, defying another Wall Street slump

Australian shares continue to be caught up in the global sell-off, but early falls are a lot smaller than Wall Street’s slide overnight.

The local bourse drooped by a modest 0.5 per centshortly after trade opened.

However, the benchmark ASX 200 index has since moderated its losses — down 0.3 per cent to 5,865by 10:25am (AEDT).

The broader All Ordinaries index has also fallen by 0.3 per cent to 5,974 points.

Mining stocks have rebounded — Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals had gained 1, 1.2 and 3.1 per cent respectively.

But major financial stocks have continued to weigh on the broader market, with losses from AMP (-1.6pc), Commonwealth Bank (-0.4pc), ANZ (-0.7pc) and NAB (-0.4pc).

Most sectors are in the red, with energy (-2.1pc) being the weakest performer after a sharp fall in oil prices overnight.

Big-name energy stocks Santos and Woodside Petroleum have fallen by 2.2 and 1.7 per cent respectively.

The telecommunications (-1.6pc), utilities (-1.3pc) and consumer discretionary (-1.1pc) sectors have also sustained heavier falls.

On Thursday, the local bourse shed about $50 billion in value — its worst one-day fall in eight months.

It has followed a weak lead from Wall Street, which saw its industrial-skewed Dow Jones index plummet by almost 1,400 points in the last couple of days.

The Australian dollar was buying 71.24 US cents at 10:00am (AEDT).

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Hurricane Michael: Monster storm leaves at least six dead and Florida in tatters

Hurricane Michael has devastated the Florida Panhandle, leaving at least six people dead and nothing more than empty foundations and rubble in some parts of the small coastal towns it crashed through with near-record breaking force.

Key points:

  • Many homes in Mexico Beach have been completely destroyed
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott says the damage was ‘way worse’ than anticipated
  • More than 900,000 homes and businesses are without power

Communications outages and roads blocked by downed trees, strewn power lines and debris made it difficult to get an overall assessment of the damage wrought by Michael, but the initial picture was grim.

Michael killed at least six people — including a man who died when a tree toppled onto his house in Florida and a girl who died when debris fell into a home in Georgia, officials and local media said.

Many residents with destroyed or damaged homes counted themselves lucky to have survived.

Some of the worst damage was in Mexico Beach, where the hurricane crashed ashore on Wednesday as a category four monster with 250-kilometres-per-hour winds and a storm surge of 2.7 metres.

Entire blocks of homes near the beach were obliterated, reduced to nothing but concrete slabs in the sand.

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Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank set to get underway at Windsor Castle

Final preparations are being made in the English town of Windsor for Britain’s second major royal wedding this year, this time involving Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter Princess Eugenie.

Key points:

  • Princess Eugenie to wed drinks and hospitality industry identity Jack Brooksbank on Friday
  • To be wedded at Windsor Castle, same setting as Prince Harry’s marriage to actress Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex
  • Andrea Bocelli to perform, Robbie Williams’ six-year-old daughter to be a bridesmaid

Eugenie, younger daughter of the queen’s third child Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, will tie the knot with Jack Brooksbank at the monarch’s Windsor Castle home on Friday (UK time).

The nuptials come just five months after the glittering wedding of Prince Harry, younger son of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, and US actress wife Meghan, now the Duchess of Sussex, at the same location.

Eugenie, 28, ninth-in-line to the throne and a director at London’s Hauser & Wirth art gallery, and Brooksbank, 32, who works in the drinks and hospitality industry, are copying some of her cousin’s plans.

The couple, who met in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier in 2010 and got engaged in Nicaragua in January, have likewise invited 1,200 people from across Britain to join in the celebrations in the castle grounds and to watch the newlyweds leave St George’s Chapel after the service.

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