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These were the worst-performing ASX 200 shares in March

In March the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) fell heavily following the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak.

Over the month the benchmark index fell a disappointing 21.2% to end the period at 5,076.8 points.

Five shares that fell more than most over the month are listed below. Here’s why these ASX 200 shares were the worst performers on the index in March:

The Southern Cross Media Group Ltd (ASX: SXL) share price was the worst performer on the ASX 200 in March with a 77% decline. Investors were selling the media company’s shares amid concerns that the coronavirus crisis could impact advertising revenues materially. For similar reasons, the oOh!Media Ltd (ASX: OML) share price fell 72% last month. Its shares were also impacted by the completion of an institutional placement which raised $156 million at a deep discount of 53 cents per share.

The Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) share price wasn’t far behind with a decline of almost 70% last month. Investors were selling travel booking companies following the announcement of strict travel restrictions and lockdowns globally. Also weighing on its shares were concerns that it might require a capital raising to see it through these tough trading conditions. For the same reasons, the Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) share price fell 61% last month before being suspended. It has since launched a capital raising in order to secure its future during these incredibly tough market conditions.

The AP Eagers Ltd (ASX: APE) share price dropped 66% during March. This was driven by concerns over a collapse in new car sales because of the coronavirus. In addition to this, the auto retailer announced that it would be halving its upcoming final dividend. Instead of paying 22.5 cents per share, it will now pay shareholders just 11.25 cents per share. The company’s board believes it is prudent to ensure that cash is preserved until the uncertainties presently disrupting the market are better understood.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Flight Centre Travel Group Limited and Webjet Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended oOh!Media Ltd. 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 Scott Phillips.