ASX sell-off following Wall St losses: Aus shares 2.53% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

The Australian stock market has taken a beating after the US markets closed in negative territory for the second session in a row, and is down more than 2.5 per cent at midday.

The banks and big miners are dragging down the market, but the landslide is affecting all sectors with both small and large market cap companies equally hit hard. Consumer Discretionary, REITS, Healthcare and Info Tech have all been hit with more than a 3 per cent loss. The Energy sector has taken a more than 4 per cent beating. Energy company Santos is nearing a 5 per cent loss and gas producer LNG is down almost 7 per cent.

Macquarie Group (ASX) has dropped more than 5 per cent, even though the bank announced an increase in profit guidance for the year. Fund manager Magellan slipped more than 7 per cent, after reporting its financial results this morning and announcing two new acquisitions.

The S&P/ASX 200 index has lost 153 points or 2.53 per cent to 5,873. On the futures market the SPI has slid 171 points.

Local economic news

Retail turnover has dropped half a per cent in December, latest figures from the ABS reveal. This comes after a 1.3 per cent increase in November 2017.

Australia has recorded a trade deficit of $1.54 billion in December, the ABS reports today.

Company news

Infant formula company Wattle Health (ASX:WHA) has acquired 80 per cent of organic baby skin care company Little Innoscents for a $300,000 cash payment plus $400,00 in shares. Little Innoscents’ revenue for FY2017 is $900,000 and EBITDA is around $250,000. The company says the acquisition increases its portfolio and further expands its distribution network. Shares in Wattle Health (ASX:WHA) are trading down 9.6 per cent at $2.07.

Space and defence systems company Electro Optic Systems (ASX:EOS) has completed a $60 million capital raise to secure funding for recently announced defence contracts. The shares are priced at $2.91, which is no discount from the closing price on 25 January 2018. The company is also offering shareholders to participate in a $5 million share purchase plan. Shares in Electro Optic Systems (ASX:EOS) are trading up 5.15 per cent at $3.06.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Utilities losing 1.55 per cent to 7,795 points while the worst performing sector is Energy, shedding 3.5 per cent to 10,564 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Oz Minerals (ASX:OZI), increasing 0.06 per cent to $8.98, followed by shares in Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Wisetech Global (ASX:BPT), dropping 9.64 per cent to $14.06, followed by shares in Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) and Magellan (ASX:MFG).

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,338 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.76 US cents.


Bitcoin has fallen 16.5 per cent to $6,835.
Ethereum fallen 17.9 per cent to $681.
Tether has gained 1.5 per cent to $1.02.

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