ASX dips, Miners drag, BlueScope falls 6%: ASX closes 0.1% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket has fallen for a third day, dipping into negative territory in the afternoon session as miners weigh heavily on the index. At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.1 per cent or 10 points lower at 7424. 

Across the sectors, only 2 out of 11 closed in the green. Utilities were up 0.7 per cent, with financials up 0.6 per cent. Meanwhile, materials were the biggest drag, down 1.5 per cent, followed by energy, down 1.1 per cent, then communication services and health care, both down 0.5 per cent. 

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was steel producer BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL), closing 5.9 per cent lower. The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN), closing 4.9 per cent higher, which rose sharply for a second session following its 30 per cent rise yesterday. 

Heavyweight miners were a major drag today as iron ore prices fell. BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 2.6 per cent lower, Fortescue (ASX:FMG) closed 2 per cent lower and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 1.5 per cent lower. Lithium miners, Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Oreocobre (ASX:ORE) closed 3.8 and 4.7 per cent lower, while Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) closed 4.1 per cent lower.

Adding to the losses, energy stocks fell with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closing 1.8 per cent lower, Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) closing 1.5 per cent lower and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) closing 3.5 per cent lower. Meanwhile, location data company Nearmap (ASX:NEA) closed 4.9 per cent lower.

In company news, property giant Ingenia Communities (ASX:INA) closed 1.9 per cent lower following its news to acquire the Victorian BIG4 Beacon Resort for $37 million. Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) closed 2.3 cent after reporting on a challenging September quarter with no earnings guidance for FY22 provided, following a significant impact in NSW and Victoria during lockdowns.

Major banks were in spotlight today, particualry NAB (ASX:NAB) closing 4 per cent higher after a strong rebound from yesterday's weak performance.
 
Local economic news

Melbourne Institute and Westpac released the November confidence report. Consumer sentiment increased by 0.6 per cent to 105.3 in November, from 104.6 in October.

The report said that while the movement in the Index is hardly noteworthy there are a number of intriguing aspects of the survey that provide us with useful evidence of how the economy is evolving as we emerge out of Covid. These include insights into spending patterns, the labour market, the impact of a changing interest rate scene, industry developments and housing.

In contrast, the Index had surged 32 per cent over the two months to October 2020 as the nation heaved a sigh of relief that Victoria’s ‘second wave’ Covid outbreak was finally coming under control and that other states had successfully avoided a return bout. That was a time when respondents were still very uncertain about the outlook and the risks associated with Covid. In recent months the success of vaccination rollouts has underpinned a confident consumer despite being in lockdown.

Australian Bureau of Statistics released the monthly business turnover report as well as the weekly payroll jobs and wages report.

Monthly business turnover falls in 8 of the 13 published industries in September. The largest decreases were in electricity, gas, water and waste services, down 8.2 per cent and Construction down 3.7 per cent. Accommodation and food services recorded the largest rise, up 2.2 per cent following four months of consecutive falls. Mining fell slightly, down 0.3 per cent although showed a strong increase through the year to September 2021, up 40.1 per cent.

Weekly payroll jobs and wages in Australia between the weeks ending 2 October and 16 October 202l: Payroll jobs, were up 1.3 per cent, while total wages paid was down 0.9 per cent.

“Payroll jobs increased through the first half of October, as lockdowns and other restrictions eased – particularly in New South Wales up 3.5 per cent, the Australian Capital Territory up 2.4 per cent and Victoria up 0.8 per cent," said head of labour statistics at the ABS, Bjorn Jarvis.

Company news

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Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) reported on a challenging September quarter with no earnings guidance for FY22 provided following a significant impact in NSW and Victoria during lockdowns.

Property giant Ingenia Communities (ASX:INA) has exchanged contracts to acquire the Victorian BIG4 Beacon Resort for $37 million.

Metal detection and mining technology company Codan (ASX:CDA) has appointed Alf Ianniello from Detmold as chief executive officer and managing director. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 125 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 17 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 52 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 7 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Utilities, up 0.7 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Materials, down 1.5 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN), closing 4.9 per cent higher at $9.13. It was followed by shares in United Malt Group (ASX:UMG) and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL), closing 5.9 per cent lower at $20.00. It was followed by shares in Nearmap (ASX:NEA) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 0.6 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 1 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 1.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1827.06 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.5 per cent lower at US$92.45 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 7.1 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.08 higher at US$82.64 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.58 US cents.
 

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