Australian shares fell sharply as investors became increasingly nervous about the economic backdrop and bailed out of banks and miners.

Oil prices were slugged on Wednesday despite the first decline in US crude inventories since January after the Federal Reserve’s dire economic warning. Energy stocks were lower in Australian trading, with Woodside dropping 3 per cent to $21.07.
Miners under pressure included BHP, down 1.3 per cent at $30.61 and South 32 down 3.5 per cent at $1.78. Gold producers enjoying gains included Newcrest Mining, which rose 3.6 per cent to $29.
Standouts included GrainCorp, which rallied 11.6 per cent to $3.67 after telling shareholders it swung to a $388.3 million interim profit from its restated year-earlier loss of $58.9 million.
Market conditions have improved considerably after widespread rainfall across much of eastern Australia, the company said. It is optimistic for a much larger crop later this year. It was the first profit result for GrainCorp since it was split off from United Malt Corp.
United Malt, in a trading halt, said it wanted to raise $165 million to strengthen its balance sheet and help finance new investments. The company is raising $140 million through a fully underwritten institutional placement and is seeking $25 million from retail shareholders through a non-underwritten share purchase plan.
Breville rallied 6.7 per cent to $19.95 after returning to trading after completing its $94 million institutional placement of 5.5 million new ordinary shares at $17 a share.
Shaver Shop jumped 30.2 per cent to 56¢ after its sales climbed 32.1 per cent for the six weeks ended May 10 as more consumers turned to DIY grooming. Sales for the period from January 1 to May 10 climbed 17.6 per cent.
Viva Energy declined 4.7 per cent to $1.41 after telling shareholders the Victorian State Revenue Office (SRO) disallowed its objection to a stamp duty assessment in connection with the IPO of Viva Energy REIT in 2016.
Viva Energy is reviewing the SRO decision but said “at this stage we do not consider that any new analysis has been raised that would alter our previous position,” and expects to lodge an appeal.
Viva Energy REIT rose 1.3 per cent to $2.36 said that it was bringing management in house after agreeing terms with Viva Energy Group.
Charter Hall rallied 4.3 per cent to $7.61 after reaffirming its financial 2020 guidance for about 40 per cent post-tax operating earnings per security growth on the previous year.
Xero shares dropped 4.8 per cent to $79.77 after a 30 per cent rise in revenue helped it swing to a $NZ3.3 million ($1.9 million) full-year net profit from last year’s $NZ27.1 million loss. Full-year revenue rose to $NZ718.2 million as subscribers to its accounting software jumped 26 per cent to 2.28 million.
But RBC pointed out that Xero had missed consensus guidance on sales and EBITDA. A lack of forward guidance, combined with negative commentary on slowing subscriber growth and a negative business outlook from customers “confirms our thesis that financial year 2021 growth expectations are at risk,” the broker said.