$25 billion wiped off market

ASX drops 2% as a string of bad news hit the market

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The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has dropped by 2%, closing at 5,062.4, losing more than $25 billion in value. The four major banks were crushed, along with the big miners and most sectors, with just the IT sector managing to keep its head above water.

It was an ominous start after Wall Street fell overnight, following news that the US Federal Reserve could taper-off its bond buying. The Dow Jones dropped 0.5%, while the S&P 500 saw a loss of 0.8% on that news. On top of that, we saw some weak Chinese manufacturing data, with growth slowing for the first time in seven months. Markets were also hit by news that Ford is exiting the car manufacturing industry in Australia in 2016.

Here’s why these three stocks are hot right now.

Telstra Corporation (ASX: TLS) saw more than 65 million shares change hands today as the telco slid 19 cents, or 3.7% to close at $4.95. The company says it expects significant job cuts after announcing a major shakeup of its operational structure. Telstra plans to divert its resources towards high-growth areas such as mobile, wireless, NBN and network services, while cutting back on loss making ventures like the Sensis directory business. About half of the 30,000 employees will be affected by the changes (not all will be losing their jobs though).

Fairfax Media (ASX: FXJ) slipped 2.5% to close at 58.5 cents, despite broker CIMB putting an “outperform” rating on the newspaper publisher. CIMB expects improved disclosure, with real estate classifieds site Domain to be a key feature of the company’s investor day in June. Domain is being pushed into its own division, and could be a significant share price catalyst. CIMB says Domain is about 60% of the size of REA Group, which the market values at over $4 billion.

Ten Network Holdings (ASX: TEN) went against the trend and rose 3.9% to 27 cents. The Australian Financial Review reported this morning that two US-based hedge funds, that are key shareholders in Nine Entertainment, have indicated that they do not want Nine to match Ten’s $500 million bid for Australian cricket broadcast rights. Ten needs to turn around its fortunes, and winning the cricket coverage could be a big boost to regaining viewers, winning market share from its rivals, and increasing its ad revenues.

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