Tech sector crumbles, Afterpay falls 5.3%: ASX down 0.9% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket is in negative territory this morning, weighed down by tech stocks. At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.9 per cent or 70.3 points lower at 7208.2. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 60 points.

All sectors are in the red except utilities and energy. Technology is down 3.5 per cent as the worst sector, following the Facebook outage with the US stock declining 4.9 per cent over night. Real estate and communication services are next, down 1.5 and 1.3 per cent. Energy is lifting the highest, up 1.8 per cent. 

The worst performing stock is IDP Education (ASX:IEL), trading 5.7 per cent lower. The best performing stock is Redbubble (ASX:RBL), trading 8.9 per cent higher.

Appen (ASX:APX), a tech stock with Facebook as a customer, is down 5.4 per cent, while Afterpay (ASX:APT) is down 5.3 per cent. Global logistics provider WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) is down 2.6 per cent. Heavyweight miners are dragging, with Fortescue (ASX:FMG) down 2.1 per cent, while BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) are both down 1.1 per cent.

Travel stocks are mixed with Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) up 2.9 per cent, while Qantas (ASX:QAN) and Webjet (ASX:WEB) are down 1.4 and 1.2 per cent. NSW is preparing to ease restrictions next week as the state leans towards the 70 per cent vaccination mark. Major banks are in the red, except Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) edging 0.06 per cent higher, while Westpac (ASX:WBC) is leading the fall, down 1.1 per cent. 

Meanwhile the energy sector is having a positive morning as oil prices increased overnight. Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) is up 2.5 per cent, with Santos (ASX:STO) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) up 2.3 and 2.9 per cent. Our weekly stock to watch this week is gold producer Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST), up 2.1 per cent at noon.  

Local economic news

ANZ and Roy Morgan released their weekly consumer confidence. Consumer Confidence was up for the fourth straight week, up by 0.9 points to 104.6 in early October. However, consumer confidence remains below the 2021 weekly average of 108.4 but is now 8.9 points higher than the same week a year ago, October 3/4, 2020 (95.7).

Consumer confidence this week was up in Sydney and Melbourne, as both cities quickly increase their vaccination rates, while down slightly in the other cities of Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Driving this week’s small increase was increasing confidence about the performance of the Australian economy over the next year and next five years.

AiGroup released the performance of construction index this morning. The Australian performance of construction index (PCI) improved by 14.9 points to 53.3 points in September this year. This indicates a recovery in activity across the construction sector after a sharp plunge in August due to Covid-19 lockdowns across NSW and other states. The Australian PCI has been especially volatile in 2020 and 2021, as the industry moves in and out of Covid-19 activity restrictions in various locations.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released their International trade in goods and services for August. The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus increased $2,427 million to $15,077 million in August. Goods and services credits (exports) rose $1,923 million (4 per cent) to $48,524 million. Goods and services debits (imports) fell $506 million (1 per cent) to $33,446 million

Today the Reserve Bank board is set to meet at 2.30pm today, with expectations that there will be no change to monetary policy.

RBA Governor Lowe is slated to provide an update on the economic outlook, following the recent job numbers which fell due to Covid-19 related lockdowns. Retail sales declined for the third month.

This meeting follows the moves from last week, after Fed Chair Powell acknowledged that high inflation is persisting, longer than they anticipated.

Company news

Contact Energy (ASX:CEN) has inked two new 10-year deals to supply renewable electricity to forestry products manufacturer Pan Pac Forest Products and pulp and paper company Oji Fibre Solutions.

Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) has entered into a binding agreement with Navarre Minerals (ASX:NML) to sell the Mt Carlton gold mine in Queensland for up to $90 million.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 1.8 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 3.5 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Redbubble (ASX:RBL), trading 8.9 per cent higher at $4.54. It is followed by shares in Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is IDP Education (ASX:IEL), trading 5.7 per cent lower at $34.53. It is followed by shares in Appen (ASX:APX) and Afterpay (ASX:APT).

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1766.80 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.80 US cents.

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