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ASX Close: Tech stocks spur market to afternoon reversal

Resource stocks dragged the ASX down today as the local share market ended the week on a soft win.

Despite the fifth day of gains in a row on Wall Street, the local ASX 200 index opened soft and spent the day marginally red. The index closed 0.62 per cent lower, shaving off 37.6 points and ending the day at 6004.8. This takes its weekly gain to 1.3 per cent.

Iron ore stocks were the heaviest drag on the market today as Rio Tinto retreated by 2.89 per cent. Fortescue Metals was not far behind, ending the day down 2.42 per cent, and BHP lost 1.31 per cent. Gold stocks did nothing to soften the blow to the wider materials sector, with Northern Star slipping 2.46 per cent. Newcrest lost 1.96 per cent, Evolution Mining lost 1.29 per cent, and Saracen lost 1.01 per cent.

A mixed day among our major banks meant the financials sector kept its losses muted but still closed 0.23 per cent lower. Commonwealth Bank lost 0.26 per cent, NAB lost 0.47 per cent, ANZ gained 0.23 per cent, and Westpac closed grey.

Interestingly, despite the tech-heavy Nasdaq index leading the gains on Wall Street, our own technology sector missed out today. Afterpay slipped 0.79 per cent and Xero lost 0.51 per cent. Computershare and WiseTech lost 1.09 per cent and 2.33 per cent, respectively.

Among our big health care players, Fisher and Paykel suffered the heaviest loss as it fell 2.96 per cent. Biotech giant CSL lost 1.28 per cent, hearing aid specialist Cochlear lost 0.72 per cent, and respiratory treatment company ResMed lost 3.17 per cent.

Only the real estate sector closed green today, though its gains were small. Goodman Group tacked on 0.11 per cent and Dexus gained 0.97 per cent. Nevertheless, Mirvac and Stockland lost 0.48 per cent and 1.18 per cent, respectively, to hold back the biggest of the gains.

Across the Pacific, Asian indexes were a similar shade of red. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was holding the wooden spoon when the ASX closed, down by 1.89 per cent. The Asia Dow is currently 1.08 per cent lower, while Japan's Nikkei 225 is 0.39 per cent lower. The Shanghai Composite is down by 0.96 per cent.

The Australian dollar is the inverse of yesterday, currently weaker against US currency and stronger against the Pound sterling. One Aussie dollar currently buys 72.17 US cents, 55.05 pence, and 12.67 South African Rand.

Today's ups and downs

WA-based kaolin and silica sand explorer Suvo Strategic Minerals (ASX:SUV) had as good a first day on the market as could be hoped for. The company listed today and shares promptly shot up thousandfold. The listing came with a heavily-oversubscribed $5 million capital raise with new shares priced at two cents a pop. While shareholders won't be expecting dividends any time soon at Suvo's current share price, this doesn't mean they can't take some neat profit: Suvo shares gained 1850 per cent to close at 3.9 cents each.

Fund management company Australian Ethical Investment (ASX:AEF) had a worse day than most after financial services company IOOF (ASX:IFL) dumped the majority of its stake in the company. IOOF sold off 72 per of shareholding and now owns under five per cent of AEF. Australian Ethical Investment shares tumbled 15.53 per cent to $5.06 each.


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