A relief rally that was expected to lead to a positive gain on the ASX petered out and the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) ended down 0.3% at 4,892.80 points. That makes its 9 down days in 10 trading sessions as the shocking start to the year continues.

These 5 companies also saw their share prices sinking today…

Sundance Energy Australia Ltd (ASX: SEA) share price crashed 11.5% to $0.12 and has now lost 34% of its value since the start of the year. Sundance is an oil and gas producer with operations mainly in the US and may be a victim of BHP Billiton Limited’s (ASX: BHP) monster writedown today of its US oil and gas assets. Investors may be expecting Sundance to do a similar writedown.

Bionomics Ltd (ASX: BNO) share price plunged 8.7% to $0.31, despite no news from the biotechnology company. Bionomics is focused on treatments for cancer, central nervous system disorders and Alzheimer’s disease. The company has a number of partnerships with giant pharma company Merck & Co – which could see up to US$658 million in combined future potential milestones plus additional royalties – but has a long way to go.

Austal Limited (ASX: ASB) share price fell 7.2% to $1.03. The shipbuilder recently announced that CEO Andrew Bellamy had resigned, contributing to the company’s 28% share price fall so far this week. The company hasn’t had a great time of it recently, announcing issues with its Littoral Combat Ship 6 building project as we covered here.

Bulletproof Group Ltd (ASX: BPF) share price slipped 7.1% to $0.46, despite no material announcements from the cloud consulting, delivery and services business. Bulletproof’s share price can be very volatile, rising more than 10% or falling by the same margin on no company news although fund manager Microequities Asset Management did report today that it had lightened its hold in Bulletproof from 8.7% to 7.4%.

Mobile Embrace Ltd (ASX: MBE) share price sank 6.6% to $0.35. The company provides mobile payments and mobile marketing services that is seeing strong demand for its products and services. Revenues are growing strongly and are expected to continue growing in future. Still, high expectations are built into the current share price, and some shareholders may be taking the opportunity to take some gains with the share price up more than double in the past 12 months.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.