The ASX doused hopes of an eighth consecutive win in the final hour of trade today as our banks and miners kept the market subdued.
The S&P/ASX 200 index tipped green several times over the trading session until finally giving way to some selling and closing a marginal 0.27 per cent lower at 6179.2 points.
Still, this result is better than expected after major COVID-19 vaccine trial delays in the US sent Wall Street tumbling. Overnight, the S&P 500 lost 0.63 per cent, the Dow Jones lost 0.55 per cent, and the Nasdaq lost 0.1 per cent.
Back down under, the local benchmark has still tacked on 6.7 per cent over the past eight sessions.
It was a mixed day on the ASX today, with the financials sector weighing in heavily on the losses. Our big four banks all pulled back from their recent highs today, with Westpac down the most at 1.37 per cent. NAB lost 1.29 per cent, ANZ lost 1.03 per cent, and Commonwealth Bank lost 1.02 per cent.
Resource stocks had a similarly sour day. Among our big energy players, Woodside lost 1.24 per cent, Santos lost 0.79 per cent, and Oil Search lost 1.74 per cent. Ampol managed to buck the trend and closed 1.3 per cent up.
Iron ore miners fared no better, with Fortescue Metals leading the losses and down 1.38 per cent. Rio Tinto lost 1.26 per cent and BHP lost 0.77 per cent.
Meanwhile, our gold stocks did their best to offset the worst of the losses across the wider materials sector. While Newcrest Mining fell 0.66 per cent, Northern Star and Saracen gained 1.19 per cent and 1.41 per cent, respectively. Evolution Mining closed 0.16 per cent higher and St Barbara closed 0.33 per cent higher.
Health care was the pick of the litter today, with a profit guidance upgrade from industry leader CSL pushing the sector higher. CSL gained 1.36 per cent. Fisher and Paykel Healthcare gained 1.29 per cent and Sonic Healthcare gained 2.31 per cent. Hearing aid giant Cochlear almost missed out but ended up closing up by 0.54 per cent.
Tech was right there with it, however, with Afterpay up 1.73 per cent and Xero up 0.8 per cent. The gains lost a bit of their gleam thanks to a 0.14 per cent fall from WiseTech and a 1.8 per cent fall from Computershare.
As for our neighbours to the east, it’s mostly red across Asian markets today with the exception of Japan’s Nikkei 225, which is clinging to a 0.03 per cent win. The Asia Dow is currently down by 0.21 per cent, the Hang Seng by 0.2 per cent, and the Shanghai Composite by 0.57 per cent.
The Australian dollar is slightly higher today, currently buying 71.68 US cents, 55.47 pence, and 75.58 Japanese Yen.
Today’s ups and downs
Healthcare software provider Global Health (ASX:GLH) skyrocketed today after teaming up with Asthma Australia over the GLH Lifecard platform. Essentially, Lifecard helps connect consumers with their care teams to help them better comply with prescribed care plans. The purpose of the partnership is to help new carers and healthcare workers understand an asthma patient’s history through the Lifecard app. Shares in Global Health gained 73.91 per cent today to close with 40 cents each.
Meanwhile, workspace specialist Victory Offices (ASX:VOL) tumbled after the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Company Secretary resigned. Geoff Hollis, who held both roles, tendered his resignation and will leave the company on November 24. While the company didn’t speak about the terms of Geoff’s resignation, it seems the market didn’t like it. Shares in Victory Offices closed 20 per cent lower at 20 cents each.