Health Care lifts, Cimic drops 13.4%, Magellan falls further: ASX closes 0.2% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket finished in negative territory despite lifting slightly higher in the afternoon session. At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.2 per cent or 12 points lower at 7,292.

Across the sectors, 4 out of 11 closed in the red. Energy was the worst performer, down 3.4 per cent, followed by financials, down 1.1 per cent, then industrials, down 0.3 per cent. Meanwhile, health care was up 0.8 per cent as the best performer.

Investment management company Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG) led the losses, tumbling 32.9 per cent after losing its $18.6 billion contract with British wealth manager St James’s Place. Major banks are also closed lower, led by (ASX:ANZ) down 1.5 per cent and NAB (ASX:NAB) down 1.3 per cent.

Energy stocks tumbled, with Santos (ASX:STO) down 4.7 per cent, Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) down 2.8 per cent and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) down 4.6 per cent.

Building contractor Cimic (ASX:CIM) closed 13.4 per cent lower, after a heavy fall today despite no official company news released to the market. Internet and telecommunication provider Uniti Group (ASX:UWL) also slid 7.8 per cent. 

Iron ore miners were mixed, as Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) finished flat, Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) finished 2.6 per cent higher and BHP (ASX:BHP) finished 0.8 per cent lower.

In headlines, gold miner St Barbara (ASX:SBM) was down 6.5 per cent following the acquisition of Bardoc Gold.

On a positive note, health care giants like Sonic (ASX:SHL) and CSL (ASX:CSL) closed 3 and 1.3 per cent higher. BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL) advanced 4.1 per cent  and Viva Energy (ASX:VEA) climbed 3.7 per cent after forecasting its earnings in 2021 would be double what they were a year prior.

Company news

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Westpac (ASX:WBC) has completed the sale of its wholesale dealer loan book of around $1 billion in receivables.

Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has selected Dominic Barton to succeed Simon Thompson as the company’s new chairman.

St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Bardoc Gold (ASX:BDC) have entered into a binding scheme implementation deed under which St Barbara will acquire all shares in the capital of Bardoc.

Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG) has lost its $18.6 billion mandate from British wealth manager St James’s Place (SJP).

Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) has entered into an agreement to acquire WINconnect, currently majority owned by Pacific Equity Partners (PEP), for $42.4 million.

Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) reported on its traffic performance in November as border restrictions started to ease.

IPO

BirdDog Technology (ASX:BDT) listed on the ASX today. Their shares issued at $0.65, started trading at $0.70 and closed at $0.695. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 307 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 46 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 178 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 21 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Health Care, up 0.8 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Energy, down 3.4 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL), closing 4.1 per cent higher at $21.91. It was followed by shares in Viva Energy Group (ASX:VEA) and Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Magellan Fin Group (ASX:MFG), closing 32.9 per cent lower at $19.70. It was followed by shares in Cimic Group (ASX:CIM) and Nanosonics (ASX:NAN).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 2.1 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 1.4 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 0.8 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1802.83 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.1 per cent higher at US$118.25 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.7 per cent.
Light crude is trading $2.29 lower at US$68.43 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.11 US cents.

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