In May, the Australian sharemarket suffered its biggest monthly fall since January last year.
Aussie stocks were among the weakest in world markets. Major global indexes, including the S&P5000, the FTSE 100, the Nikkei 22 and the Hang Seng, all rose last month.
The ASX200 fell 3.4 per cent and the ASX300 fell 2.7 per cent, with the biggest impact from the banks, which were down 9.8 per cent, retail stocks (down 9.3 per cent) and healthcare (down 2.4 per cent). Real estate investment trusts fell 0.7 per cent.
Among the banks ANZ was down 12.1 per cent, Commonwealth Bank down 8.9 per cent, National Australia bank down 8.5 per cent and Westpac down 10.3 per cent.
The banks were hit hard after the Government announced its bank levy proposal in the Budget. This came on top of subdued underlying revenue growth in the banks’ half-year financial reports.
Retail stocks have fallen by 18 per cent so far this year, with Myer down 22.1 per cent, Harvey Norman down 10.1 per cent and JB HiFi down 6.4 per cent.
There were gains in industrial stocks, which were up 4.7 per cent, telcos (up 3.4 per cent) energy (up 1.5 per cent) and utilities (up one per cent).
Top performers during the month included Qantas, which rose 18.2 per cent, Fairfax Media (up 17.4 per cent), Graincorp (up 15.7 per cent), Flight Centre (up 13.7 per cent), Aristocrat Leisure (up 11.7 per cent) and Boral (up 11.2 per cent).
Qantas rose after releasing a March quarter trading update that beat consensus forecast and showed international revenue improving.
The weakest stock was Vocus Group, which fell 16.3 per cent, before attracting a takeover offer from US private equity investor KKR last week. Other weak stocks were CSR Ltd, which fell 14.9 per cent, James Hardie Industries (down 13.6 per cent), ANZ Bank (down 12.1 per cent), Westpac (down 10.3 per cent) and Harvey Norman (down 10 per cent).