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Australia’s shares finished the last trading day of the week in the red, with only Utility stocks being able to enjoy marginal gains.

The market has been dragged down by technology companies, with the sector down 3.61 per cent, following a poor overnight session on Wall Street.

The S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.03 per cent, or 77.30 points, to 7,397.10 points.

What drove the market

This week, Federal Reserve policymakers signalled that interest rates in the United States will begin to rise in March.

On Thursday, Fed Governor Lael Brainard became the latest and most senior US central banker to warn that the current era of near-zero interest rates would come to an end after two pandemic-shaking years.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released today, the value of new loan commitments for housing climbed by 6.3 per cent to $31.4 billion in November 2021 (seasonally adjusted), following three months of losses. New personal loans also increased by two per cent month on month.

Winners’ circle

Only the utilities market managed to claw back some percentage points, rising a marginal 0.43 per cent. AGL Energy, Renu Energy and Infratil were able to post gains today.

Brainchip, a technology stock, continued its amazing surge. Under a put option agreement negotiated by the two firms in 2020, BrainChip approached LDA Capital for a new round of investment. The announcement has resulted in a 15.7 per cent increase in the company’s stock price. BRN stock has more than doubled in value in the first two weeks of 2022, reaching an all-time high.

Adrea Resources was up 48 per cent after making a nickel sulphide discovery on an intact felsic footwall contact at its Kalpini project 70km northeast of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Fellow material players, Legend Mining, Havilah Resources and Zenith were up on the market, gaining 31.3 per cent, 20.5 per cent and 20.7 per cent, respectively.

Healthcare store Star Combo managed to rise 30.8 per cent while Clearvue Technologies enjoyed a 31.94 per cent bump.

Doghouse

It was a sea of red across the vast majority of the boards today.

Big Energy players Woodside, Santos, Ampol and Soul Pattinson all dropped. The material majors joined them in the red, with BHP, FMG, Rio, James Hardie, and South32 share prices falling.

The same can be said for the big financial players. CBA, NAB, Macquarie, ANZ and Westpac all witnessed a drop in share prices.

Leading the charge into the red were Technology companies.

Afterpay continued to fall, dropping 8.74 per cent from its share price today ahead of its expected delisting next week. Xero was also in the red, dropping by 4.66 per cent with WiseTech Global not far behind, falling 3.11 per cent.

Investment manager Pendal finished the day 19.5 per cent in the red after disappointing funds under management announcement.

Other markets

Asian markets joined the ASX today in the red. The Asia Dow fell 1.14 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down by 1.03 per cent but China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.59 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei dropped 1.37 per cent.

US futures moved slightly up. S&P 500 futures were recently up 2 points, or 0.04 per cent.

Oil is down, with Brent Crude falling to US$84.37 a barrel.

Gold was up. Gold prices increased 0.27 per cent to US$1,826.30 an ounce.

The dollar was up 0.01 per cent to 72.80 US cents

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