The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) fell 17.9 points, or 0.4% to close at 4,076.3 yesterday, a second consecutive day of falls as the markets continue to worry about Europe's ongoing issues, China's growth and doubts over whether the US is actually recovering.
These three stocks tumbled by more than 4%.
Aquarius Platinum Limited (ASX: AQP) dropped 7% to close at $1.20. Aquarius' share price has fallen steadily from a high of over $5 in June 2011, as the price of platinum continues to fall. Platinum is currently trading around US$1,405 per ounce, down from a high of US$1,659 just two months ago. A conveyor belt fire at the company's partly owned Zimbabwe mine last week could also affect platinum production.
National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) closed at $22.48, down 5.6% as the stock went ex-dividend. What this means is that investors buying shares in NAB from yesterday are not entitled to the 90 cent dividend that the bank has recently declared. Therefore, the market adjusts the share price to account for the lack of dividend. That's an important point for investors who buy a stock for its dividend. It's not a free lunch – there's usually a roughly commensurate fall in the share price.
Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) fell 4.4% to close at $4.62. BHP Billiton Limited's (ASX: BHP) chief executive, Marius Kloppers said that the big miner would not be signing off on any new big projects in the next six months and possibly for the next eighteen months to two years, as the company takes a wait and watch approach. Concerns are building (sorry!) that China's steel industry is at over-capacity already and the recent approval for another two steel plants will make the situation worse. This comes as bad news for Australian iron ore miners, including Fortescue.
Other large losers included Elders Limited (ASX: ELD) down 7.5% to 18.5 cents, Coal of Africa Limited (ASX: CZA) down 12.1% to 51 cents, Tap Oil Limited (ASX: TAP) down 8.8% to 67 cents and Becton Property Group (ASX: BEC) down a massive 22.6% as the company struggles to refinance its debts and continue trading.
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Motley Fool contributor Mike King owns shares in BHP. The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool's free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it's still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.