Miners' plunge resumes, ASX down 1.5pc

Iron ore miners’ plunging popularity has continued at the start of the trading week amid widespread selling on the share market.

© Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS Huge falls for iron ore miners have been among widespread losses on the ASX.

The market was down 1.5 per cent at 1200 AEST after Wall Street closed lower on Friday.  

Mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto lost more than four per cent. Iron ore specialist Fortescue was down by more than six per cent.

The price of the steel-making commodity fell further as Chinese steel mills follow government orders to ease production for environmental benefit.

Energy and information technology shares had the next biggest losses.

Oil and gas provider Santos dropped three per cent to $6.14.

The widespread losses come in a week in which central banks in Japan, the UK and US will make monetary policy decisions.

The most closely watched meeting will be that of the US Federal Open Markets Committee.

Investors will watch to see if the committee signals when the US Federal Reserve might start winding up its bond buying. 

Central banks around the world have given enormous support to economies during the pandemic through measures such as buying bonds.

In Australia, the Reserve Bank will on Tuesday publish the minutes of its recent meeting. The board extended bond buying due to lockdown damage to the economy. 

Video: ‘Massive moves’ on the market as iron ore prices plunge (Sky News Australia)

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was lower by 111.2 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 7292.5 on Monday.

The All Ordinaries was down by 119.2 points, or 1.54 per cent, to 7583.7.

Meanwhile, a Transurban joint venture has paid more than $11 billion for the NSW government’s 49 per cent stake in Sydney toll road WestConnex.

The company revealed its Sydney Transport Partners joint venture has taken full ownership of the 70km network of roads, tunnels and bridges.

Transurban is selling $4.22 billion in securities to help fund the purchase.

Securities were paused from trading. They last swapped for $14.18.

Victorian electricity operator AusNet surged after Brookfield Asset Management improved its takeover offer.

Brookfield has offered to buy all shares for $2.50 each after first offering $2.35 per share last month.

AusNet will allow Brookfield staff to examine its financials to help decide whether to pursue the bid. AusNet shares were higher by 17.6 per cent to $2.33.   

The big four banks were all lower. NAB fared worst and was down 1.03 per cent to $27.60. 

Property trust Charter Hall is leading a group buying all the securities in ALE Property Group.

Charter Hall is offering $5.68 per stapled security in the pub property owner.

ALE securities on the ASX were up 21.4 per cent to $5.71.

Charter Hall shares were down 2.27 per cent to $5.16.

The Australian dollar was buying 72.44 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower than 73.06 US cents at Friday’s close.

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