Despite teasing a mid-session comeback, a sour turn in US futures saw Aussie shares re-reverse and deepen the glum morning’s losses.
After Friday’s brief respite, S&P 500 and Dow Jones futures are pointing to two-per-cent declines tonight as fears of a second COVID-19 wave and civil unrest across the States keep investors on tenterhooks.
The Australian share market’s response was to quickly give back some more of its recently-acquired gains in an afternoon sell-off. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 2.19 per cent lower at 5719.8 points — its lowest point since May 25. All 11 ASX sectors were red by market close.
Another slump in oil prices dragged the energy sector down once more today. Woodside lost 3.28 per cent, Santos lost 3.89 per cent, and Origin Energy lost 2.96 per cent. WorleyParsons closed 3.28 per cent lower.
The consumer discretionary sector helped anchor the market today as companies which have been staging a steady comeback since the March COVID-19 slump lost ground. Flight Centre shaved off 8.35 per cent of its value, Harvey Norman 4.52 per cent, and JB Hi-Fi 4.98 per cent. Retail conglomerate Wesfarmers declined by 3.39 per cent.
Our supermarket giants dragged staples stocks down as Woolworths closed 2.24 per cent lower and Coles 0.57 per cent lower. The A2 Milk Company, Treasury Wine Estates, and Coca-Cola Amatil each lost between 2.08 per cent and 2.85 per cent.
Taking a look at our market heavyweights, both financials and materials stocks pulled things down further today.
Big banks continued their reversal after carrying the ASX through its last two weekly gains. Today, Westpac led the losses with a 2.85 per cent decline. ANZ and NAB trailed close behind, down 2.7 per cent and 2.64 per cent, respectively, while Commonwealth Bank lost 1.52 per cent.
Meanwhile, Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals led the losses among our big iron ore players, closing 3.44 per cent lower. BHP lost 2.06 per cent and Rio Tinto 0.96 per cent.
Simultanously, gold stocks reflected the wider movements among the sector for a change, pulling things down further. Newcrest lost 0.9 per cent, Northern Star Resources 2.92 per cent, and Evolution Mining 2.18 per cent.
Overseas, it was a similarly sad day across Asian markets, with all major indexes in the red. When the ASX closed shop for the day, the Asia Dow was down by 2.54 per cent and the Nikkei 225 by 3.21 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was sitting 2.04 per cent lower.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar missed out as well today. Currently, one dollar buys 67.88 US cents, 54.46 pence, and 11.77 South African Rand.
Today’s ups and downs
Junior gold explorer Meteoric Resources (ASX:MEI) had a happy day today after announcing the $1 million purchase of the WA Palm Springs Gold Project. The project boasts some impressive historic drilling results, and Meteoric claims the area is home to 60 known gold occurrences, of which many remain undrilled. Meteoric’s shares surged 31.58 per cent ahead today to close worth 2.5 cents each.
Life sciences company Cellmid (ASX:CDY), however, tanked today after coming out of a month-long trading halt pending news of a COVID-19 antibody test. While the test results were not strictly negative, it seems Cellmid has fallen victim to market expectations and caught up on a month of turbulent movements in one day. After a rocky day on the market, shares closed 29.73 per cent lower at 13 cents each.