Aussie shares stayed largely subdued as jobs data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) came in worse than expected today.
The local share market was already set up for a tough day following a mixed session on Wall Street. Overnight the Dow Jones slumped 0.65 per cent and the S&P 500 0.36 per cent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq just held on to a 0.15 per cent gain.
As such, our local ASX 200 index quickly lost roughly one per cent in early action. This loss was deepened to 1.6 per cent just before midday when the ABS revealed a 7.1 per cent unemployment rate over May. While the increased unemployment is no surprise, it’s worse than economists were expecting.
By the end of the day, however, the index had clawed back up ever-so-slightly to close 0.92 per cent lower at 5935.50 points.
Losses were fairly muted across each sector, but with 10 out of our 11 sectors closing red, they add up.
Consumer discretionary stocks took the wooden spoon today as the sector declined 1.95 per cent. Fears of a second surge of infections following a fresh outbreak in Beijing have spooked investors, and stocks in the firing line paid the price. Retail conglomerate Wesfarmers lost 1.32 per cent and Tabcorp lost 3.37 per cent. JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman lost 4.83 per cent and 3.83 per cent, respectively.
The materials sector dragged things lower as our iron ore and gold producers all fell. Fortescue led the losses yet again with its 4.24 per cent drop, while Rio Tinto lost 1.27 per cent and BHP 0.92 per cent. Gold mining giant Newcrest lost 1.78 per cent, Northern Star lost 1.96 per cent, and Evolution Mining lost 0.75 per cent.
As for the financials sector, a soft day across the big banks saw the sector give back 0.54 per cent. NAB lost the most today with its 0.95 per cent decline, while Commonwealth Bank and ANZ lost 0.83 per cent and 0.42 per cent, respectively. Westpac lost 0.33 per cent.
Only utilities stocks avoided red today, supported by AGL Energy’s 1.21 per cent rise. Infigen Energy gained 3.98 per cent and New Energy Solar 1.28 per cent.
Overseas, Asian markets are having a marginally red day so far. When the ASX closed for the day, the Asia Dow was lower by 0.21 per cent, the Nikkei 225 by 0.45 per cent, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng by 0.60 per cent. The Shanghai Composite was dancing between red and green.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is slightly lower today, currently worth 68.66 US cents, 54.73 pence, and 11.82 South African Rand.
Today’s ups and downs
On a relatively sad day across the markets, shareholders of recently-listed buy now, pay later competitor Splitit (ASX:SPT) are celebrating. Shares in the company doubled after the announcement of a new partnership with Mastercard. Splitit will be integrating its delayed payments tech into Mastercard’s services. Splitit shares closed 108.33 per cent higher at $1.38 each.
On the other end of the spectrum, Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ) released a weak earnings update this morning. With the COVID-19 crisis still keeping planes on the ground, the company said it is expecting a full-year loss of NZ$120 million. The company initially predicted a NZ$350 million full-year profit before the pandemic struck — bringing the true impact of the virus on earnings to almost half a billion dollars. AIZ shares closed 4.61 per cent lower at $1.45.