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ASX Today: ASX caps off worst week since GFC with more losses

The share market kept on track for its best month in decades despite a second day of falls as a US market holiday depressed buying interest and China took another bite out of Australian exports.

The S&P/ASX 200 fell 35 points or 0.5 per cent to trim its tally for the week to around 0.9 per cent. Today marked the index's fourth weekly win in a row. The market hit its session low after Beijing announced punitive tariffs that effectively shut Australian wine out of its biggest market.

Despite today's setback, the ASX 200 has risen 11.4 per cent since the start of the month, the best return in its 20-year history. The older All Ords has gained 11.1 per cent, its biggest month since March 1988.

What moved the market

Soft leads from European markets were compounded by mildly negative US futures ahead of the resumption of US trade tonight following last night's Thanksgiving holiday. Overnight, the pan-European Stoxx 600 dipped 0.12 per cent as Germany extended coronavirus restrictions and Texas and California reported record infection rates.

S&P 500 futures were lately down three points or 0.1 per cent. The New York Stock Exchange reopens tonight for what is traditionally a thinly-traded half-session.

China today announced it will slap Australian wine imports with temporary tariffs of up 212.1 per cent following an anti-dumping investigation. Shares in the nation's largest listed wine exporter, Treasury Wine Estates, tumbled 11.3 per cent before entering a trading halt to prepare a response. Distributor Australian Vintage fell 1.6 per cent.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said Australia would not compromise its values under threat of trade sanctions.

"We're a sovereign nation, we expect to be treated with the respect of a sovereign nation," he said. "We'll not be for turning."

Today's share market action broadly mirrored yesterday's session: cyclicals down, select defensives up. The energy sector fell 1.8 per cent, financials 0.5 per cent and materials 0.4 per cent. Gold stocks and REITs mostly advanced.

Winners' circle

Supply-chain logistics specialist Brambles was the best of the heavyweights of the ASX 20, rising 1.1 per cent. Property group Goodman gained 0.9 per cent. Insurer IAG put on 0.8 per cent, iron ore major Fortescue 0.2 per cent and retail conglomerate Wesfarmers 0.1 per cent.

Bega Cheese surged 8.9 per cent after buying Lion Dairy & Drinks for $534 million. The acquisition includes drinks, yogurts and custards sold under a range of brands, including Dare, Farmers Union, Yoplait and Pura. Bega will fund the purchase with a capital raising.

The gold sub-sector climbed further off six-month lows as confidence increased that a critical support level for the metal will hold. Newcrest advanced 0.7 per cent, Perseus Mining 3.1 per cent and Gold Road Resources 2.1 per cent.

Among listed real estate investment trusts, Mirvac added 0.8 per cent and Charter Hall Group 1.5 per cent. Lendlease fell 1.3 per cent a day after losing its CFO to rival Stockland.

Doghouse

Most of the market behemoths declined. Health giant CSL shed 1.3 per cent, iron ore major BHP 1.3 per cent and oil king Woodside Petroleum 1.5 per cent. The big four banks shed between 0.5 and 0.9 per cent. Supermarkets Coles and Woolworths fell 0.6 and 0.5 per cent, respectively.

Travel agent Helloworld sank 3.9 per cent after warning shareholders it expects to lose money until at least the fourth quarter of this financial year. The company forecast demand will rebound next year, but it does not expect revenues to regain previous levels until 2023. Rivals Flight Centre and Webjet fell 4.4 and 4.6 per cent, respectively.

Karoon Energy fell 1.9 per cent after the company outlined plans to double production at its Bauna wells to around 30,000 barrels of oil per day. Oil Search dropped 3.7 per cent following the resignation of its Chief Financial Officer Designate.

Other markets

A flat session on Asian markets saw China's Shanghai Composite slip less than 0.1 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lose almost 0.2 per cent. Japan's Nikkei added 0.5 per cent.

Brent crude marked time, lately ahead a cent at $US47.80 a barrel. Gold was also steady, down ten cents from its last official traded price at $US1,805.40 an ounce.

The dollar climbed 0.25 per cent late in the afternoon to 73.75 US cents.

Hot today and not today

Hot today: African explorer Six Sigma Metals (ASX:SI6) surged 33.3 per cent as speculators positioned for imminent drilling at its Maibele North Project in Botswana. A drilling crew is expected on-site next week to drill a 550m hole east of existing nickel-sulphide mineralisation.

Not today: The clash of ideologies between China and Australia claimed another victim today. Penfolds winemaker Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) crashed 11.3 per cent. The nation's biggest listed winemaker cooperated with a Chinese investigation into alleged wine dumping to no apparent benefit. Beijing continues to use its considerable economic leverage to apply pressure on Canberra over a number of issues.


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