Tech stocks rally, ARB rises on prelim results: ASX closes 0.2% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket finished Monday’s session slightly lower after financials weighed heavily on the market. Consumer staples also contributed to the losses while technology dominated as the best performer.

Major banks weighed after ANZ (ASX:ANZ) dropped 3.4 per cent, Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) declined 2 per cent, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) fell 1.9 per cent, Macquarie (ASX:MQG) was down 1.8 per cent and Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 1.6 per cent lower. 

Health insurer Nib (ASX:NHF) also weighed on the financial sector, closing 5.4 per cent lower as the second worst stock of the day.

Global brand Ansell (ASX:ANN) led the losses, closing 14.3 per cent lower at $26.76. The company downgraded its FY22 guidance after a weaker than expected first half performance.

In the consumer space, supermarket giants Coles (ASX:COL) and Woolworths (ASX:WOW) fell 1.6 and 1.1 per cent respectively, while Blackmores (ASX:BKL) closed 3.8 per cent lower.

Heavyweight miners Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 1.9 and 1.2 per cent lower respectively, while Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 2.2 per cent higher.

Onto gold stocks, Northern Star (ASX:NST) was down 1.4 per cent, while Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) lifted 0.2 per cent and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) closed 1.5 per cent higher. 

In the tech space, buy-now-pay-later giant Square (ASX:SQ2) closed 8.3 per cent as the best performing stock, while data operator NEXTDC (ASX:NXT) closed 3.1 per cent higher after increasing its contract utilisation by 5.5 megawatts since June 30 last year. 

Energy stocks finished higher led by Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) up 3.9 per cent, Santos (ASX:STO) up 1.6 per cent and Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closing 0.9 per cent higher.

Elsewhere, ARB Corporation (ASX:ARB) reported an increase in revenue in its unaudited preliminary results for the first half of financial year 2022 despite Covid-19 challenges. Shares closed 7.9 per cent higher at $46.15.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.2 per cent or 17 points lower at 6,972.

Local economic news

The Reserve Bank said Private sector credit in Australia rose by 0.8 per cent month-over-month in December 2021, after an upwardly revised 1.0 per cent rise from the month before which is the strongest pace since March 2020.

Business credit growth slowed 1.1 per cent vs 1.6 per cent in November amid a continued rise in housing credit. Personal credit fell 0.8 per cent after gaining 0.6 per cent in November. Over the year to December, private credit rose 7.2 per cent as per the Reserve Bank

The Melbourne institute inflation gauge rose by 0.4 per cent in January from 0.2 per cent the month before, up 3 per cent on a year ago. 

Company news

Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU) has acquired a 15 per cent interest in African gold developer Orca Gold from Resolute Mining for $19.6 million. Shares closed 1 per cent lower at $1.46.

Aerial technology company Nearmap (ASX:NEA) appointed Penny Diamantakiou as chief financial officer effective from today. Shares closed 6.8 per cent at $1.34. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 56 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 8 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 42 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 39 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 3.7 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down 1.8 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Block (ASX:SQ2), closing 8.1 per cent higher at $161.41. It was followed by shares in ARB Corporation (ASX:ARB) and Zip Co (ASX:Z1P).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Ansell (ASX:ANN), closing 14.3 per cent lower at $26.76. It was followed by shares in NIB Holdings (ASX:NHF) and PointsBet Holdings (ASX:PBH).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 1.2 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 1.1 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite is closed due to Chinese New Year.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1787.84 an ounce.
Iron ore is 6.6 per cent higher at US$147.90 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 7.6 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.95 higher at US$87.77 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.14 US cents.

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