Australian stocks end 2.23 percent lower

Australian stocks plunged 2.23 percent Monday as the market digested the prospect of Greece leaving the eurozone after Athens called a referendum on creditors’ reform demands.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 123.4 points lower at 5,422.5.

The fall was offset somewhat by China on Saturday announcing it would again ease interest rates by 25 basis points to boost growth.

“Naturally, confusion leads to selling and volatility, and this is exactly what we saw,” said IG Markets’ chief strategist Chris Weston, referring to Greece.

“It promises to be a very interesting session in Europe and I think a number of Asia-based traders will be keen to see the European reaction before putting money to work.”

In late trade the Australian dollar was fetching 76.41 US cents, down from 77.02 cents on Friday. It was buying 69.51 euro cents from 68.77 euro cents on Friday.