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ASX 200 finishes down 0.9% on Wednesday

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) finished down by around 0.9% today as investors remain nervous about the coronavirus.

At the start of the day the ASX 200 was down as much as 2.5% and at the beginning of the last trading hour it was actually up 1.2%. Investors can’t seem to make up their mind whether to be positive or negative.

What was the main cause of today’s ASX 200 fall?

The share price of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) dropped 3.3%.

The share price of Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) fell 5.3%.

The share price of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) declined 4.9%.

The share price of National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) went down 4.8%.

Why did the ASX banks fall so much? It appears to be because the Australian regulator APRA has asked Australia banks and insurers not to pay dividends during this period so that they remain in strong financial shape.

Plenty of ASX investors are just holding the banks for dividends, and those dividends may be about to be reduced, so the banks may seem like less attractive investments.

Potential demerger for Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE) 

The big news within the ASX 200 today was that the is considering a demerger of Penfolds and wants to accelerate its separate focus on luxury versus commercial wines.

Treasury Wine Estates is focused on premiumisation for its brands. Penfolds accounts for around 10% of its volume but over half of its earnings.

If the potential demerger is implemented it would mean shareholders would own a share in Penfolds and in the ‘New Treasury Wine Estates’ in proportion to their existing holdings.

The Treasury Wine Estates share price ended 0.5% higher.

Altium Limited (ASX: ALU) says it’s continuing to perform well

The electronic PCB software business gave an update today to the market today.

Altium withdrew its official FY20 guidance but it says that it’s continuing to perform well and that its cash levels have been increasing, it’s working hard on rolling out Altium 365 and its industry is holding up relatively well with engineers shifting to working on prototype designs.

The Altium share price ended today 0.7% lower.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison owns shares of Altium. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Treasury Wine Estates Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Altium and National Australia Bank Limited. 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.

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