The Australian sharemarket retreated at the open, defying positive expectations set by Wall Street’s strong performance overnight.
Most of the sectors were in the sell zone, as banking, health and energy stocks were the heaviest drags on the market.
All the big four banks contracted in the morning session, shedding over 1 per cent by midday.
Sydney has recorded another 13 locally-transmitted infections since 8pm last night, prompting the state authorities to ramp up social restrictions and pandemic control measures.
The spike has spooked investors in travel stocks, as Webjet (ASX:WEB)
and Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD)
tumbled 1.7 and 0.1 per cent by lunchtime
Materials, telcos and infotech were the only sectors exempt from the broader decline, as mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP)
and BNPL specialist Afterpay (ASX:APT)
were tracking 0.6 per cent and 2.9 per cent higher respectively by midday.
At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.51 per cent or 37.30 points lower at 7304.90.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 40 points.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 1.32 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Health Care, down 1.50 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), trading 6.21 per cent higher at $1.54. It is followed by shares in Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) and Soul Pattinson (WH) (ASX:SOL).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Redbubble (ASX:RBL), trading 6.32 per cent lower at $3.26. It is followed by shares in Santos (ASX:STO) and Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1779.57 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.0 per cent higher at US$214.32 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.15 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.44 US cents.