Australian shares fell sharply today, in part due to a slowdown in sales for Coles and stronger-than-expected inflation figures, which reduce the likelihood of further interest rate cuts.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) down 1.5% to 5359 points
  • ALL ORDINARIES (Index: ^AXAO) (ASX: XAO) down 1.5% to 5442 points
  • AUD/USD at US 76.87 cents
  • Iron Ore at US$61.96 a tonne, according to the Metal Bulletin
  • Gold at US$1,275.28 an ounce
  • Brent oil at US$50.14 a barrel

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) shares were slammed 5.7% following a slowdown in sales growth at its Coles stores. Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) fell a more respectable 0.5%.

Mining giant BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) was unable to enjoy the soaring iron ore price overnight. Its shares slumped 1.5%, while Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) gained 1.7%.

Meanwhile, major dividend shares also fell sharply. Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) shed 1%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) dropped 1.4% and Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) fell 1%.

The rut continued for Bega Cheese Ltd (ASX: BGA) which fell 3%. Blackmores Limited (ASX: BKL) fell 6.3% as well.

Theme park owner Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD) was slammed 14.9% following the disaster at its Dreamworld park yesterday. Village Roadshow Ltd (ASX: VRL) also shed 4.4%.

Medical device maker Nanosonics Ltd (ASX: NAN) soared 11.4% following an encouraging quarterly cash flow report.

Independence Group NL (ASX IGO), EVOLUTION FPO (ASX: EVN) and Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) also ended the session on top. They rose 2.4%, 0.9% and 1.5%, respectively.

Here are Wednesday’s top stories:

  1. Tragedy hits Ardent Leisure Group’s Dreamworld theme park
  2. Why Wesfarmers Ltd shares are getting crushed today
  3. Ardent Leisure Group shares fall 22% after Dreamworld tragedy
  4. Ramsay Health Care Limited reaffirms guidance, is time to buy shares?
  5. Here’s why Lynas Corporation Limited shares skyrocketed today
  6. ResMed Inc. (CHESS) margins climb as Brightree points to growth

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Nanosonics. 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.