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ASX 200 recovers, but QBE continues its plunge

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has opened strongly this morning following another day of heavy falls on Tuesday, with the key financials and resources stocks leading the way.

In late-morning trading, the market has recovered 34 points or 0.6% after having fallen 0.8% yesterday. Westpac (ASX: WBC) has been the strongest performer of the big four banks, having regained 1.5% — a similar amount to what it lost yesterday. The bank’s major rivals, ANZ (ASX: ANZ), Commonwealth Bank (ASX: CBA) and NAB (ASX: NAB), have also performed strongly, jumping between 0.5% and 1.2%.

Meanwhile, BHP Billiton (ASX: BHP) and Woodside Petroleum (ASX: WPL) have come out strongly, gaining 0.5% and 1.2%, whilst Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and fellow iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) have remained flat for the day so far.

Although the gains have been relatively widespread for the blue chips, shareholders in QBE Insurance (ASX: QBE) have felt even more pain today after their shares plunged 22.3% yesterday – its largest single-day fall in over 12 years. The shares are again down 7.3% today, making the total loss since entering a trading halt on Friday a whopping 28%.

Shares in TPG Telecom (ASX: TPM) are also taking a breather today, down 1.6% after rallying 13.6% yesterday following the announcement that it would acquire AAPT from Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (ASX: TEL).

Foolish takeaway

Since hitting a high of 5457.3 towards the end of October, the ASX 200 has fallen considerably to just 5178 points. Whilst this could partially be attributed to some investors choosing to take their profits after a long period of strong gains, fears that the US Federal Reserve will soon begin to taper from its stimulus program have also sparked heavy selling.

However, this has created an excellent opportunity for long-term investors, whereby shares in many companies are now trading at much more attractive prices.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.

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