Tech leads losses, Zip Co falls: ASX closes 0.9% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket fell further in the afternoon and finished Friday’s session in negative territory, following a mixed week amid tensions around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The technology sector weighed on the local bourse, followed by consumer discretionary and healthcare, while energy was the best performer.

Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) closed 7.6 per cent lower as the worst-performing stock, following an announcement regarding its share purchase plan. The buy-now-pay-later giant raised $148.7 million at $1.90 per share via an institutional placement. Meanwhile, payment software Xero (ASX:XRO) led tech stocks lower, down 5.9 per cent. 

Major banks were weighed down by Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG), which closed 1.8 per cent lower at $182.33. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) fell 0.4 per cent to $99.38 and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) dipped 0.2 per cent to $29.94, while ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) rose 0.3 per cent to $25.85 and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) closed 0.1 per cent higher at $22.67.

Energy stocks were mixed, with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) up 1 per cent to $31.98 and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) up 0.3 per cent to $1.60, while Santos (ASX:STO) closed 0.3 per cent lower at $7.57.

Santos (ASX:STO) weighed on heavyweight miners, down 0.3 per cent to $7.57, while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) rose 1 per cent to $111.70 and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 0.2 per cent higher at $18.23.

Gold stocks finished mixed, with Northern Star (ASX:NST) up 0.1 per cent $10.80, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) down 0.6 per cent to $26.85 and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) closing flat at $4.43.

Nickel Mines (ASX:NIC) withdrew its share purchase plan after noting the retraction in the company’s share price and current market volatility. The miner said applications had far exceeded the $18 million target after it reached around $57 million. However, the company will refund applicants on March 16. Shares fell 1.2 per cent to $1.20, after being the best performing stock at noon.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.9 per cent or 67 points lower at 7,064. Over the week, it lost 0.7 per cent or 47 points.

Company news

Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) has appointed Paul Victor from Sasol in South Africa as Incitec’s chief financial officer (CFO). Chris Opperman will continue as interim CFO until Victor starts on July 1. Shares closed 2.5 per cent higher at $3.70.

The kitchen appliance maker Breville (ASX:BRG) is set to acquire the Italian-based coffee group LELIT. The transaction is expected to complete by early July, following a pre-acquisition restructure of the LELIT group. Shares closed 2.7 per cent lower at $26.24.

In relation to the Brisbane Floods class action, Omni Bridgeway’s (ASX:OBL) leave to appeal to the High Court of Australia is scheduled to be heard on April 12. This comes after the NSW Supreme Court decided against the appeal in favour of Seqwater, a state-owned enterprise of Queensland. Shares closed 1.5 per cent lower at $3.29.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 132 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 20 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 101 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 82 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Utilities, up 0.5 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Information Technology, down 3.2 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Allkem (ASX:AKE), closing almost 5 per cent higher at $10.59. It was followed by shares in Champion Iron (ASX:CIA) and Alumina (ASX:AWC).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Zip Co (ASX:Z1P), closing 7.6 per cent lower at $1.57. It was followed by shares in Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) and Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG).

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 2.4 per cent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 3.5 per cent.
China's Shanghai Composite has lost 2.1 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones lost 1.3 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 1.6 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 1.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1984.55 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.8 per cent lower at US$156.35 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.5 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.07 lower at US$86.74 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.33 US cents.
 

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