The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) posted its fourth consecutive day of losses, ending down 0.4% at 4,013.83.
Fears that the EU Summit scheduled for later this week won't actually resolve anything, news that Cyprus became the fifth European country to seek emergency financial aid weighed on US markets which gave us a weak start. That wasn't helped by concerns about the potential impact of the carbon and mining taxes, which together all dragged the market down.
According to Reuters, the two-day summit in Brussels will be the 20th occasion that EU leaders have met to try to resolve the crisis, since it began in Greece in early 2010. No wonder that investors have become jaded and pessimistic.
Maybe we investors should put our hands up too and ask the EU to bail us out, while they are throwing the stuff around?
The good news first
News Corp (ASX: NWS) shares have surged by more than 2.5% on a report by the Wall Street Journal that the company may split into two, with film and television operations separated from its newspapers, book publishing and education assets.
Telstra, Woolworths, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac Bank all finished in positive territory.
Now the bad news
BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) were the biggest drags on the market, both falling by more than 1%. BHP hit an intraday low of $30.55, a price the stock hadn't seen since March 2009, at the low point of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Worries about the carbon and mining taxes, both of which come into effect from this Sunday, have weighed on the two giant miners.
Seven West Media Limited (ASX: SWM) shares slumped by 13.7% to close at $1.69 as short sellers increased their positions in media stocks. Citigroup analysts have speculated that Seven West Media may launch a capital raising, thanks to the downward pressure on the share price exerted by short sellers. The company also announced today that ex-Woodside Petroleum boss Don Voelte has been appointed as chief executive.
The media merry-go-round looks like it's still got some life in it yet, with billionaires James Packer, Kerry Stokes and Gina Rinehart all making recent moves within the sector.
From the depths of the GFC in March 2009, the market rallied, with the ASX 200 index climbing 45% in just nine months. Another rally could happen at any time, so we urge you to stay calm, be patient and suggest that this is probably not the best time to sell.
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Motley Fool contributor Mike King owns shares in BHP Billiton and Woodside. 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.