The sharemarket has extended its early losses at midday, with banking stocks among the worst hit, following still-hawkish rhetoric from the US Federal Reserve overnight.
The S&P/ASX 200 is 65 points, or 0.9 per cent, down at 7098.4, with all 11 sectors tilting lower.
Commonwealth Bank, NAB, ANZ and Westpac are all down between 1 per cent‑2 per cent. The tech, health care and energy sectors are also down about 1 per cent.
In company news, Transurban has been blocked for the first time by regulators from acquiring a toll road in Australia, after the competition watchdog ruled that it cannot proceed with a bid for Melbourne’s EastLink toll road. Shares have dipped 2.5 per cent.
Fonterra’s ASX-listed shareholders fund gained 2.3 per cent after the New Zealand dairy giant unveiled a full-year dividend of 50¢ a share, including interim dividend of 10¢ a share.
Among small-cap stocks, Anson Resources is among the best gainers, jumping 3.5 per cent following reports of “exceptional geological characteristics” at the explorer’s Green River Lithium Project in Utah, US.
Financial services provider Thorn Group has gained 3.2 per cent after Bermuda-based Somers put forward a revised $1.17 per share buyout offer, following the sale of Thorn’s asset portfolio to fellow ASX-lister Resimac Group for $16.7 million.