Tech drag continues, Healthcare & banks weigh: ASX closes 1% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket fell for a second day after spending all of today’s session in the red. Technology dragged the index lower, along with the financials and healthcare sectors while energy dominated as the best performer.

The technology sector was heavily weighed down by Megaport (ASX:MP1) after reporting on its December quarter, which outlined an increase in revenue, while its shares tumbled 16.2 per cent to $15.31. Also weighing on the sector was Novonix (ASX:NVX) down 9.1 per cent and WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) closing 4.3 per cent lower.

In the financial space, major banks fell as Macquarie Bank (ASX:MQG) dropped 3.7 per cent, Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) declined 1.5 per cent, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) fell 1.2 per cent, Westpac (ASX:WBC) was down 0.8 per cent and ANZ Bank (ASX:ANZ) closed 0.7 per cent lower. 

Healthcare stocks continued to fall from yesterday amid growing Covid-19 hospitlisations across the states. Biggest laggards in the sector were Imugene (ASX:IMU) and Polynovo (ASX:PNV) both closing almost 5 per cent lower. 

Heavyweight miners were mixed with Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) down 1.5 per cent and BHP (ASX:BHP) down 0.3 per cent after reporting on it’s December quarter, while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 0.2 per cent higher.

Elsewhere, Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) posted record sales for the December quarter despite the pandemic-led challenges. Shares closed 0.6 per cent lower at $11.02.

Onto gold stocks, Northern Star (ASX:NST) dropped 3.6 per cent, Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) fell 3 per cent and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) closed 1 per cent lower.

Energy stocks were a bright spot today as Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) rose 2.1 per cent, Santos (ASX:STO) added 1.8 per cent and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closed 0.9 per cent higher.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 1 per cent or 76 points lower at 7,333.

Local economic news

Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer confidence index for January fell 2 per cent to to 102.2.

Company news

HUB24 (ASX:HUB) delivered record platform net inflows of $3.6 billion in the December quarter, pushing its total assets under advisement to $68.3 billion. Shares closed 2.1 per cent higher at $27.42.

BKI Investment (ASX:BKI) has doubled its operating profits after tax for the half year to December and increased its dividend by 75 per cent. Shares closed 0.9 per cent higher at $1.69.

Global software company BrainChip (ASX:BRN) has been granted its eighth US patent. Shares closed 14.5 per cent higher at $2.13.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 178 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 28 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 139 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 97 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Energy, up 0.6 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Information Technology, down 2.6 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Appen (ASX:APX), closing 3.9 per cent higher at $10.47. It was followed by shares in Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN) and Premier Investments (ASX:PMV).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Megaport (ASX:MP1), closing 16.2 per cent lower at $15.32. It was followed by shares in Novonix (ASX:NVX) and Allkem (ASX:AKE).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 2.4 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 0.02 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 0.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1813.28 an ounce.
Iron ore is 2.7 per cent higher at US$127.30 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of almost 5 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.94 higher at US$85.77 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.90 US cents.
 

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