S&P/ASX 200 dives: what you need to know

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has extended its sharp decline this afternoon in a plunge led by a number of Australia’s blue chip shares.

Just after 1:30pm Sydney time, the ASX 200 was trading 81 points or 1.6% lower, taking the bourse below the 5000-point mark for the first time in more than three weeks.

Source: Google Finance

Source: Google Finance

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) is perhaps the biggest surprise of the day, its share price lifting 1.6%.

But elsewhere, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) are leading the banks lower. They’re down 2.9% and 3% respectively.

The Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL) and Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) share prices have also fallen 2.9% and 1.6% respectively, while Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) and Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) are down 1.8% and 1.4%, ensuring that most investors have been hit hard by today’s selloff.

What would YOU do if the market crashed tomorrow?

Discover our Foolish experts' advice on what YOU should do in the event of a crisis -- simply click here for your FREE copy of our newly updated report, "What to Do When the Sharemarket Crashes". Click here, it's FREE!.

Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

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.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.