• ASX sheds 1.17% to 6603.4 points.
  • Saudi to slash oil output by 1 million barrels a day.
  • Bitcoin could reach US$140,000: JP Morgan.

The S&P/ASX200 has shed 1.17% to 6603.4 points as at 1PM AEDT with energy the only sector in the green after Saudi Arabia announced a surprise cut to oil production.

The decision to slash output by an extra 1 million barrels a day for February and March lit a fire under energy stocks while the price of WTI Crude oil has surged 0.38% to US$50.12/barrel.

Oil Search (up3.8%), Beach Energy (up 2.02%) and Santos (up 1.42%) all posted big gains.

Tech stocks are the biggest drag on the market, down almost 3%.

The Aussie dollar is buying US$0.79. Bitcoin is fetching US$33,920, with investment bank JPMorgan predicting it could reach as much as $US146,000 if it becomes a safe haven asset like gold.

Making headlines, Reuters has reported that Italian energy company Eni has halted plans to sell its Australian gas assets, including a stake in the Santos-controlled Bayu-Undan project, due to a lack of interest.

Santos said yesterday it would extend the life of the Bayu-Undan operations in the Timor Sea after committing to a US$235M drilling campaign.