Weak start for ASX: Aus shares close 1.6 per cent lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market kicked off the trading week on weak footing and we lost over 1 per cent today with most of our sectors trading below the line. From the outset, we had negative leads to follow after Wall Street saw its worst week in 2 years on the back of the benchmark interest rate, or 10-year yield, popping to a 4-year high of 2.85 per cent.

On top of that, the oil price is trading near a 2-day low which caused energy stocks to tumble, Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) lost almost 4 per cent, with Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), Santos (ASX:STO), Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) all following.

Mining giants like Rio and BHP also lost over 2 per cent. In the consumer staples space, the owner of Coles and Bunnings, Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) took a big hit, falling 4.5 per cent.

As for the broader market, US futures are down over 110 points, and that kept ASX sentiment low. 

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 1.6 per cent lower or 95 points lower on Monday at 6026.

The value of trades was $5.4 billion on volume of 742 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).

On the futures market the SPI is 107 points down.

Company news 

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) has reinvigorated its financial reporting templates ahead of releasing its 2018 interim profit results on Wednesday 7 February 2018. The big four bank’s net profit after tax was $5 billion for the half year to 30 June 2017 on a statutory basis. Shares in CBA (ASX:CBA) closed 1.2 cent lower at $79.80.

Medical glove and condom company, Ansell (ASX:ANN) advised it paid no tax in the 30 June 2016 finanical year, even though its total income was $326 million and its taxable income was about $8 million. The fact that it didn’t have to pay any tax reflects its foreign tax offsets. Shares in Ansell (ASX:ANN) closed 0.5 per cent higher at $25.52.

Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) the owner of Coles and Bunnings has announced it will write down over $1 billion. Target also saw underperformance due to lower than expected sales in a highly competitive market. Meantime, the company’s Bunnings UK and Ireland business is expecting an underlying loss of $165 million for the first half of the 2018 financial year.

Infant formula producer Bubs Australia (ASX:BUB) has secured a partnership with Australia’s largest supermarket chain, Woolworths. The company’s goat milk formula range will be available in selected Woolworths supermarkets from April this year.

And oil and gas company AWE (ASX:AWE) has recommended shareholders accept a $602 million takeover offer from Japanese company Mitsui.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing and only sector that saw minor gains was utilities, closing 0.03 per cent higher at 7,917
The worst performing sector was energy, shedding 2.6 per cent lower at 10,946.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN), rising 4.1 per cent closing at $0.64. Shares in Speedcast International (ASX:SDA) and ARB Corporation (ASX:ARB) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG), dropping 9.5 per cent to $1.05. Shares in Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 2.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has shed 1.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,331 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.35 lower at $US65.45 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.29 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mostly lower, 

Bitcoin has fallen 10 per cent to US$8,247
Ethereum has lost 12 per cent lower at US$845
And Tether has gained 0.41 per cent to US$1.00



 

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica is a senior finance journalist and presents the Market Outlook, Market at Midday and Market Wrap. She also presents ASX company news and interviews CEOs. She joined FNN in January 2017 with six years of broadcast journalism experience. She worked as a journalist and producer with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business and ABC24. She also worked in regional Australia for Prime 7 and WIN News as a TV reporter. In her prior life she worked as a financial planner.