Numbers are displayed at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on October 24, 2018 in New York. Picture: Bryan R. Smith/AFP
Numbers are displayed at the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on October 24, 2018 in New York. Picture: Bryan R. Smith/AFP

Red alert: Wall Street nosedives

AUSTRALIAN shares are set to drop for a fifth straight session following heavy overnight losses on Wall Street, as weak forecasts from chipmakers added to continued fears over the impact of tariffs and China's slowdown.

The SPI200 futures contract was down 94 points, or 1.62 per cent, to 5,700.0 at 0800 AEDT on Thursday, signalling another opening plunge for the local market after energy and materials shares drove it lower on Wednesday.

The Australian dollar has also dipped, and is buying 70.63 US cents, down from 70.99 US cents on Wednesday.

US stocks tumbled overnight, confirming a correction for the Nasdaq and erasing the Dow and S&P 500's gains for the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 608.15 points, or 2.41 per cent, to 24,583.28, the S&P 500 lost 84.53 points, or 3.08 per cent, to 2,656.16 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 329.14 points, or 4.43 per cent, to 7,108.40.

This is likely to weigh heavily on the Australian market, which is already down 6.1 per cent so far for October and on track for its worst month in more than three years.

Energy had a sector-wide loss of more than two per cent on Tuesday, extending its losses for the month beyond 10 per cent, after oil prices plunged to two- month lows.

Oil was flat overnight, while copper prices fell and iron ore rose. In local company news on Thursday, Fortescue Metals will issue its September quarter production report, while Qantas is scheduled to publish its first quarter trading update.

JB HI-FI and Whitehaven Coal have their annual general meetings.

Meanwhile, Wealth manager AMP Ltd says it will sell its Australian and New Zealand wealth protection and mature businesses to London-based insurance firm Resolution Life for $3.3 billion.

 

‘Investors are on pins and needles.’ Picture: Richard Drew/AP
‘Investors are on pins and needles.’ Picture: Richard Drew/AP

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