Tech and travel stocks shine: ASX closes 0.2% lower

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The local share market has ended the session lower after a lacklustre day of trade. The S&P ASX 200 shed 0.2  per cent or lost 13 points to 5952. The big banks were the main drag on the market today with Westpac shedding 1.1 per cent and NAB down to 0.8 per cent. The tech sector was the strongest following a jump in the Nasdaq on Friday. Afterpay rose 5 per cent while fellow buy now pay later company Sezzle jumped 5.5 per cent after news of a Proof Of Concept with retail giant Target. Travel stocks took off with Qantas up 6.4 per cent after New Zealand backed a possible trans-Tasman travel “bubble” by Christmas.

Futures 

US futures are all higher the Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 207 points. S&P 500 futures are eyeing a gain of 22 points. The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a gain of 61 points. And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a rise of 12 points tomorrow morning.

Company news

Ardent Leisure (ASX:ALG) has been fined $3.6 million for the deaths of four people on a ride at Dreamworld in 2016. The company says it accepts responsibility for this tragedy without qualification or reservation. Shares in Ardent Leisure closed 2 per cent higher at 51 cents.

Lithium miner Piedmont (ASX:PLL) has rocketed 83 per cent after entering a supply agreement with car major Tesla for the supply of spodumene concentrate from the company’s North Carolina deposit. Shares in the company closed 83.3 per cent higher at 28 cents.

Shares in the a2 Milk (ASX:A2M) company dived over 11 per cent today after the dairy company cut 2021 sales and earnings guidance following a contraction in its daigou channel in Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Iress (ASX:IRE) has lifted its all-cash takeover bid for Onevue from 40 cents per share to 43 cents.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is tech gaining 1.9 per cent, while the worst performing sector is consumer staples losing 2.2 per cent. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Mesoblast  (ASX:MSB) rising 12 per cent to $5.50, followed by shares in EML Payments  (ASX:EML) and Webjet (ASX:WEB) The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is a2 Milk (ASX:A2M) dropping 11.4 per cent to $15.20, followed by shares in Crown Resorts Group (ASX:CWN) and Blackmores (ASX:BKL).

Asian markets

All higher: Japan’s Nikkei has gained 1.2 per cent Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has risen 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,859 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 0.5 per cent to US$115.21.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of nearly 0.2 per cent.
Light crude has shed US$0.39 to US$40.12 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.52 US cents.