Fortescue falls, Tech & energy drag, CSL rises: ASX closes 0.3% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket extended its losses in the afternoon session as most sectors lost ground. At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.3 per cent or 19 points lower at 7,281.

All sectors closed in the red, except health care, up 0.9 per cent and consumer staples, up 0.1 per cent. Technology was the biggest drag, down 1.5 per cent, followed by energy, which fell significantly after lunchtime, down 1.1 per cent. Utilities were next, down 0.9 per cent, then industrials, down 0.5 per cent.

The best-performing stock was recycling company Sims (ASX:SGM), closing 4.6 per cent higher. The worst-performing stock was Ansell (ASX:ANN), a manufacturer of personal protection products, closing 4.6 per cent lower. 

Tech stocks continued to fall, with Afterpay (ASX:APT) closing 3.1 per cent lower, Appen (ASX:APX) closing 3.6 per cent lower and WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) closing 1.6 per cent lower. Energy stocks did the same, with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closing 1.6 per cent lower, Soul Pattinson (ASX:SOL) closing 2.3 per cent lower, Worley (ASX:WOR) closing 3.4 per lower and Yancoal (ASX:YAL) closing 5.3 per cent lower.

Heavyweight miners Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) and BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 1.8 and 0.5 per cent lower, despite iron ore prices trading higher. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) finished 0.4 per cent higher. The banking sector was weighed down by Westpac (ASX:WBC) closing 1.8 per cent lower after reporting a $1.3 billion loss in its second half results.

Travel stocks remained under pressure as Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) closed 3.5 per cent lower, Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) closed 1.9 per cent lower, Qantas (ASX:QAN) closed 1.3 per cent lower and Webjet (ASX:WEB) closed 2.4 per cent lower.

On a brighter note, bio tech giant CSL (ASX:CSL) closed 2 per cent higher, after reaffirming its FY22 profit guidance. Mining stocks Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU) and Alumina (ASX:AWC) closed 4.3 and 4.2 per cent higher.

Local economic news

The weekly consumer confidence report from ANZ and Roy Morgan was released this morning. Consumer confidence was up for the 5th straight week, up by 1 point to 105.6 in mid-October. However, consumer confidence remains below the 2021 weekly average of 108.3 but is now 7.9 points higher than the same week a year ago, October 10/11, 2020 (97.7).

Consumer confidence this week was up in Sydney as the 106 day lockdown finally came to an end. Consumer confidence was also up in Brisbane and Adelaide, however down in Melbourne as the lockdown of that city is set to continue for another two weeks. Driving this week’s small increase was increasing confidence about the performance of the Australian economy over the next year and more Australians saying now is a ‘good time to buy’ major household items.

National Australia Bank released their September business survey report. Business confidence rebounded strongly in September. The improvement was driven by large shifts in confidence in NSW and Victoria following the announcement of reopening roadmaps in these states as well as rising vaccination rates across the country. Recreation & personal services, wholesale trade, and retail – some of the sectors worst affected by lockdowns – all saw a significant confidence boost, as did construction.

Current business conditions deteriorated significantly across all states, particularly NSW and Victoria, as lockdowns and disruptions continued to weigh on activity. Overall, the economy has shown considerable resilience through the most recent round of lockdowns.

Business confidence rebounded 19 points to +13 index points in September, with NSW (up 42 points to +27 index points) and Victoria (up 16 points to +5) driving the shift, while other states fell back somewhat. There were big improvements in confidence in wholesale (up 28 points), recreation & personal services (up 26 points), and construction (up 23 points).

Company news

Please join us for Stocks of the Hour here.

Financial services provider AMP (ASX:AMP) has appointed Patrick Snowball as chairman for the company's private market business. 

Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) have wrapped up its 13th and final report to improve its governance, culture and accountability across the bank.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) expects its profit for the second half of the year to be cut by $1.3 billion, due to hefty write-downs and "notable items".

Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) is set to buy a stake in Harbour Town Premium Outlets in Queensland for $358 million.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 104 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 15 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 49 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 22 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Health Care, up 0.9 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Information Technology, down 1.5 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sims (ASX:SGM), closing 4.6 per cent higher at $13.59. It was followed by shares in Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU) and Alumina (ASX:AWC).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Ansell (ASX:ANN), closing 4.6 per cent lower at $32.27. It was followed by shares in Appen (ASX:APX) and Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 0.9 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 1 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1760.18 an ounce.
Iron ore is 9.4 per cent higher at US$135.03 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.8 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.14 higher at US$80.06 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.55 US cents.
 

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