The Australian sharemarket has been slammed today on the back of investor concerns about a likely Greek exit from the Eurozone.
The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) and ALL ORDINARIES (Index: ^AXAO) (ASX: XAO) have both been crushed 2.3% in what has been one of the most severe sell-offs in years whereby very few companies have been spared.
While the market itself copped a beating, these stocks fared even worse…
Slater & Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH) is once again the worst performing stock from the ASX 200 group. The stock plunged by as much as 30.6% to an 18-month low of $3.50 after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission confirmed a probe into its relationship with audit partner Pitcher Partners. The stock has now plummeted 45.7% since Wednesday last week.
South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) shares were crunched 4.7% as investors continued to pile out of the freshly listed mining giant. A number of South32’s commodities have fallen in price considerably since its debut with some analysts forecasting a significant impact on the group’s future earnings potential. The shares hit a high of $2.45 last month and have since fallen to just $1.74.
BC Iron Limited (ASX: BCI) has fallen 6.4% on the back of bearish forecasts for the future price of iron ore. Although it currently trades for around US$62 a tonne, Capital Economics predicts it will fall below US$40 a tonne in the second half of this year as a result of surging low-cost supplies, according to the Fairfax press. That does not bode well for BC Iron, nor any of Australia’s iron ore miners.
Azure Healthcare Ltd (ASX: AZV) tumbled 37.3% on the back of a downgraded earnings guidance issued after the market’s close on Friday. Although the medical device manufacturer expects to achieve 12% growth in revenues for the year, it said it expects net profit after tax (NPAT) to be between $0.8-$1 million, compared to the $3.87 million achieved in the prior corresponding period. This was the result of a heavy increase in research and development expenditure which increases the risks associated with an investment in the company.
Retail Food Group Limited (ASX: RFG) fell 4.2%, despite the absence of any bad news from the company which would specifically explain the fall. The stock has fallen well below its 52-week high levels as investors become concerned about slowing growth as well as an $18.5 million non-cash write-down which will impact group earnings this year. The stock now trades at $5.46 and could be a reasonable bet for long-term focused investors.
Given that the losses have spread like wildfire, very few investors have remained unscathed. The market’s confidence is right down and many are choosing to sell out in a panic, limiting their losses but offloading their shares at heavily discounted prices.
Indeed, there is no way of knowing exactly how severe this sell-off could be, nor is it clear just how long lasting the impact of a potential ‘Grexit’ (Greek exit) will be. As difficult and terrifying as it may be, investors need to ensure they remain calm and composed, and that they don’t join the hordes running for the exits.
The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.