Lockdown jitters eclipse employment optimism: Aus shares close 0.2% lower

Market Reports

by Michael Luu

Text-only (non-video) report.

The ASX200 continued its lacklustre tendency in afternoon trade, as the Australian sharemarket wrapped up the week’s first session on a weak note. Pessimistic sentiment fueled by the prolonged Melbourne lockdown eclipsed positive labour market data from ANZ.

Retreats by financial and travel stocks erased advances by the mining and tech sectors, as the Australian benchmark snapped its three-day gaining streak.

Victoria’s announcement of nine new local transmissions in the state has spooked investors and spurred anxiety over tightening social restrictions. COVID-driven jitters have sent travel and hospitality stocks into the sell zone, as Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) and Webjet (ASX:WEB) both tracked over 4 per cent lower in the last hour of trade.

AUSTRAC’s crackdown on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing compliance extended from casino operators The Star, SkyCity and Crown Resorts to the banking sector, as NAB shares slumped 3.2 per cent.   

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.19 per cent or 13.50 points lower at 7281.90.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 32.00 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 7.00 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 27.75 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 14 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 2.80 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down 1.07 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Altium (ASX:ALU), closing 39.03 per cent higher at $37.83. It was followed by shares in Nuix (ASX:NXL) and Appen (ASX:APX).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Skycity Entertainment Group (ASX:SKC), closing 6.47 per cent lower at $3.18. It was followed by shares in Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) and Webjet (ASX:WEB).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 0.27%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.58%.
China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.09%.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1884.09 an ounce.
Light crude is trading $0.50 lower at US$66.43 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.38 US cents.
Iron ore is 1.70 per cent lower at US$207.35 a ton.
Iron ore futures are flat.