ASX fades, inflation jumps 3.8%: Aus shares close 0.7% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian share market continued its downward trend, closing 0.7 per cent or 52 points lower at 7,379. In the last hour of trade, all sectors were in the red except Real Estate. 

Information Technology was the worst-performing sector, with its largest company, buy now, pay later provider Afterpay (ASX:APT), closing 3.3 per cent lower.

Major banks were down, with the Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) closing 1.5 per cent lower. Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 0.9 per cent lower, followed by ANZ (ASX:ANZ), 0.6 per cent lower, and NAB (ASX:NAB), 0.2 per cent lower.

Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) clawed back some if its losses, closing 0.2 per cent higher at $132.32, following a commitment to spend $2.4 billion on the Jadar lithium project. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed flat at $25.82 and BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 2 per cent lower at $53.32, following a bid to acquire a high-grade nickel project in Canada.

Energy suppliers were on watch today after a mixed night on oil prices. Woodside Petroleum (ASC:WPL) closed 1.9 per cent lower, followed by Santos (ASX:STO), 1 per cent lower. Oil Search (ASX:OSH) was volatile today, closing 0.5 per cent higher.

Health Care giants were among the decliners. CSL (ASX:CSL) closed 0.7 per cent lower, followed by Fisher and Paykel (ASX:FPH), 0.6 per cent lower. Sonic Health Care (ASX:SHL) dropped in the afternoon trade, yet still edged 0.5 higher.

On a positive note, the best-performing sector was Real Estate Investment Trusts and the best-performing stock was Spark Infrastructure (ASX:SKI) closing 5.4 per cent higher, following a revised proposal. 

NSW recorded 177 new Covid-19 cases following a 4-week lockdown extension around greater Sydney. Victoria recorded 10 new cases.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released their consumer price index (CPI) for the June quarter 2021, which rose 0.8 per cent.

The most significant price rises in the June quarter were automotive fuel up 6.5 per cent and medical and hospital services up 2.4 per cent due to the annual increase in private health insurance premiums. Electricity prices increased by 3. 3 per cent due to the continued unwinding of the Western Australian Government's $600 electricity credit. Over the twelve months to the June 2021 quarter, the CPI rose 3.8%.

Annual inflation for the June 2021 quarter increased to 3.8 per cent following a rise of 1.1 per cent in the March quarter.

Company news

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Mining company IGO (ASX:IGO) reports a strong performance for the second quarter (Q2) ending 30 Jun 2021, following competition of the Tropicana divestment, Lithium transaction and Nova operation.

Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) committed $2.4 billion to the Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia, subject to receiving all relevant approvals.

Spark Infrastructure (ASX:SKI) received a revised proposal from Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan board, of the back of a non-binding indiciative proposal to acquire 100 per cent of ordinary stapled securities in Spark Infrastructure by way of scheme.

BHP (ASX:BHP) subsidary BHP Lonsdale Investments announced that BHP Western Mining Resources International (BHP WMR) made a recommended all-cash offer to acquire all issued and outstanding common shares of Noront Resources for $0.55 per share.

Testing services provider ALS (ASX:ALQ) has acquired a 49 per cent interest in NUVISAN, a Germany-based pharmaceutical testing firm.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 51 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 2 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 12 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 51 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Real Estate Investment Trusts, up 0.8 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Information Technology, down 2.1 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI), closing 5.4 per cent higher at $2.74. It was followed by shares in Orora (ASX:ORA) and Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nickel Mines (ASX:NIC), closing 11.1 per cent lower at $1.04. It was followed by shares in Redbubble (ASX:RBL) and Netwealth Group (ASX:NWL).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 1.4 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 0.9 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1806.98 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.10 per cent lower at US$202.57 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.80 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.46 higher at US$72.11 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.60 US cents.
 

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