The share market fell away late in the session as a collapse in US equity futures cooled expectations for tonight’s Wall Street action.
The S&P/ASX 200 finished 20 points or 0.28 per cent lower after treading water for much of the session.
Advances in property and banking stocks were offset by declines across the wider market. Retailers remained under pressure following last week’s US bloodbath. Nufarm dived more than 14 per cent after a key stakeholder sold its stake in the crop specialist.
What moved the market
Positive overnight leads were soon forgotten as a skittish Australian market reacted to a revenue warning from Snap. US stock futures tumbled after the US social media giant told employees it would not meet revenue and earnings guidance.
The news fuelled heavy selling among social media stocks in after-hours trade. Snap slumped 30.97 per cent, Pinterest 12.13 per cent, Facebook owner Meta Platforms 7.08 per cent and Twitter 3.72 per cent.
US equity futures wound steadily lower as the Asian session advanced. As the ASX closed, S&P 500 futures were down 49 points or 1.2 per cent Nasdaq futures were off 1.9 per cent. European futures also declined.
Today’s setback dampened hopes last night’s 2 per cent relief rally on the Dow might mark a turning point in Wall Street’s 2022 sell-off. The Dow has fallen for eight straight weeks, its longest losing run since 1932.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a wave of COVID-19 infections and lockdowns in mainland China, relentless inflation, and tightening financial conditions have disrupted production and stifled demand, causing the global economy to stall,” Sara Johnson, executive director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, told MarketWatch.
Also depressing ASX buying interest was a round of soft economic data. A measure of Australian private-sector activity fell to a four-month low as manufacturing contracted and services growth slowed. The S&P Flash Australia Composite Output index dropped to 52.5 this month from 55.9 in April. Business confidence sank to a 25-month low.
Consumer confidence rebounded a notch after collapsing 7.7 per cent in four weeks. The ANZ-Roy Morgan weekly gauge ticked up 1.7 per cent.
Bank stocks kept the ASX near break-even for much of the day, mirroring strength in US financials overnight after JPMorgan Chase raised its full-year guidance. The upgrade appeared to confirm the prospects for lenders to increase margins as interest rates rise.
NAB climbed 1.01 per cent, CBA 0.56 per cent, ANZ 0.24 per cent and Westpac 0.56 per cent.
Real estate investment trusts were the other pocket of strength. Goodman Group firmed 1.46 per cent, Charter Hall Group 1.67 per cent and Mirvac 0.91 per cent.
Miners filled most of the slots at the top of the index. Allkem climbed 3.7 per cent, Perseus 3.31 per cent and Pilbara Minerals 3.2 per cent. Close behind were Liontown Resources +2.7 per cent and IGO +1.8 per cent.
Tabcorp’s demerged lotteries and Keno business The Lottery Corporation debuted this morning. Shares in the new listed entity closed at $4.70. Tabcorp shares plunged 80.24 per cent to reflect the adjusted values of each business.
Retailers continued to struggle in the wake of cost warnings last week from US giants Target and Walmart. Supermarkets Woolworths and Coles dropped 0.69 and 0.62 per cent, respectively. City Chic Collective sagged 7.97 per cent. JB Hi-Fi shed 2.02 per cent and Premier Investments 0.53 per cent.
Nufarm sank 14.55 per cent to $4.99 after a major Japanese shareholder unloaded its stake in the firm. Sumitomo Chemical Company sold 60.2 million shares – around 15.9 per cent of the total shares on issue – in a block trade for $324 million last night.
The sale locked in a substantial loss for the Japanese investor, which bought in at $14 in 2009. Nufarm said the companies intended to continue their 12-year business alliance.
Qantas eased 1.47 per cent after buying a 51 per cent stake in online travel firm TripADeal. The purchase will increase the airline’s exposure to the packaged holiday market. Qantas intends to drive business to TripADeal through its loyalty program.
Technology One shed 1.63 per cent as a 21 per cent jump in expenses took some of the shine off a record first-half profit. The software-as-a-service operator’s after-tax profit increased 18 per cent to $33.2 million.
Growth stocks were pressured by the collapse in Nasdaq futures. Afterpay owner Square slid 7.26 per cent, Imugene 8.89 per cent and Zip Co 5.43 per cent.
Confirmation earnings will be at the upper end of guidance kept investment manager Challenger near a two-year high. The firm expects full-year normalised net profit to be closer to $480 million than the $430 million lower end of guidance. The share price dipped 0.4 per cent to $7.53.
A red session on Asian markets saw the Asia Dow shed 0.85 per cent, China’s Shanghai Composite 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 1.67 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei 0.85 per cent.
Oil retreated with US equity futures. Brent crude dropped US$1.30 or 1.15 per cent to US$112.13 a barrel.
Gold rose for a fourth session, rising US$5.20 or 0.3 per cent to US$1,853 an ounce.
The dollar slipped back under 71 US cents, lately down 0.07 per cent at 70.81 US cents.