Tech & miners lead losses, Uniti jumps 9%: ASX closes 0.5% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket remained in negative territory in the afternoon session, heavily weighed down by miners and technology stocks while real estate charged ahead as the best performer. 

Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) led the losses after lowering its full year production guidance because of a geotechnical incident and other operational challenges. Shares closed 14.1 per cent lower at $1.80. 

Heavyweight miners dragged, with Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) down 2 per cent after announcing the acquisition of Williams Advanced Engineering. Meanwhile, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 0.7 per cent lower and BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 0.2 per cent lower. 

Gold stocks were lower. Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) fell 2.2 per cent, Northern Star (ASX:NST) fell 1.8 per cent and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) dipped 0.3 per cent.

Across the tech space, Life 360 (ASX:360) weighed the most, down 8.8 per cent, followed by Novonix (ASX:NVX) closing 6.6 per cent lower. 

Energy stocks were mixed. Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) fell 1.3 per cent, Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) dipped 0.2 per cent and Santos (ASX:STO) closed flat. 

In headlines today, furniture company Adairs (ASX:ADH) tumbled 21 per cent to $3.01 after noting that mandated store closures from Covid-19 have impacted the group in the first half of the financial year.

Elsewhere, Aristocrat (ASX:ALL) announced that the rival bidder facing Aristocrat’s bid to buy British gambling software group Playtech has dropped the pin on the deal. Shares closed 0.8 per cent lower to $41.18. 

Onto banks, ANZ (ASX:ANZ) fell 1 per cent, Westpac (ASX:WBC) was down 0.9 per cent, Macquarie (ASX:MQG) was down 0.4 per cent, NAB (ASX:NAB) dipped 0.3 per cent and Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) closed 0.1 per cent higher. 

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.5 per cent or 36 points lower at 7,140.

Local economic news 

The Markit flash purchasing managers index for January was released with the key data below.

Australia Composite Output Index Jan: 45.3, 5-month low (Dec final: 54.9).
Australia Services Business Activity Index Jan: 45.0, 5-month low (Dec final: 55.1).
Australia Manufacturing Output Index Jan: 47.7, 5-month low (Dec final: 53.6). 
Australia Manufacturing PMI Jan: 55.3, 5-month low (Dec final: 57.7). 

Economics associate director Jingyi Pan said, “the Australian economy had slipped from a state of strong recovery in end-2021 to being affected by the surge in Covid-19 infections at the start of 2022.” 

“Supply issues meanwhile remained prevalent, with lengthening of lead times, reports of supply shortages and labour constraints persisting and made worse by the latest surge in Covid-19 cases. This had led to input price inflation worsening which may well lead to further selling.”

Company news 

Uniti (ASX:UWL) has received approaches from more than one party indicating potential interest in an acquisition of the company. Shares closed 8.8 per cent higher at $4.10. 

Health insurer nib Holdings (ASX:NHF) will postpone increasing health insurance premiums for its Australian resident health insurance members until September 1, to provide financial relief for its members during the pandemic. Shares closed 1.2 per cent lower at $6.46. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 218 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 32 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 111 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 7 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Real Estate Investment Trusts, up 1.4 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Information Technology, down 1.6 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Uniti Group (ASX:UWL), closing 9.3 per cent higher at $4.12. It was followed by shares in Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) and Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Regis Resources (ASX:RRL), closing 14.3 per cent lower at $1.80. It was followed by shares in Imugene (ASX:IMU) and Life360 (ASX:360).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 0.03 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.9 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1837.64 an ounce.
Light crude is trading $0.73 higher at US$85.87 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.77 US cents.
Iron ore is 2.8 per cent higher at US$137.40 a ton.
Iron ore futures are flat.
 

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