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ASX Close: Market closes red as resource stocks fight strong dollar

The ASX posted a narrow weekly loss after closing red for the third time this week.

The market opened flat ahead of the second and final debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, but it failed to get moving even once the debate had come to an end. US futures are marginally subdued as the country waits for concrete updates on a new stimulus deal.

As such, the ASX 200 index closed just below the grey line — 0.11 per cent down at 6167 points. This takes our weekly loss to less than 10 points after the sturdy October rally carried the index to a seven-month high on Monday. Since October 12, the ASX 200 hasn't fallen below 6100 points.

The market was split down the middle today, with five sectors closing green and six sectors closing red.

Energy led our green stocks on the back of a neat 4.16 per cent rise on the US S&P 500 energy sector. While the local sector didn't run quite as far, it still tacked on 1.19 per cent. Santos gained 3.94 per cent, Oil Search gained 2.11 per cent, Woodside gained 1.15 per cent, and Origin gained 0.23 per cent.

The heavyweight financials sector helped keep things steady with a 0.51 per cent rise. ANZ led our big four banks today with a 1.44 per cent increase, while Westpac gained 0.97 per cent, Commonwealth Bank gained 0.82 per cent, and NAB gained 0.61 per cent. Macquarie Group put on a slight 0.07 per cent.

Meanwhile, the best of the gains were held back by a 0.97 per cent retreat from our materials sector. Sector leader BHP set the tone and declined by 1.32 per cent. Iron ore peers Fortescue and Rio Tinto gave back 0.42 per cent and 0.85 per cent, respectively.

However, it was the gold subsector that really pulled the wider materials sector down. Each one of our 10 biggest gold miners by market cap lost more than 2 per cent. Regis Resources fell 4.32 per cent, Silver Lake lost 3.42 per cent, and Newcrest Mining slipped 2.79 per cent. De Grey fell 4.84 per cent.

Health care added its weight to the red today with biotech giant CSL declining 0.51 per cent. Ramsay Health Care lost 1.09 per cent, but Cochlear bucked the trend and gained 0.46 per cent.

As for Asian markets, it was mostly green this afternoon. The Asia Dow is currently up by 0.12 per cent, the Nikkei 225 by 0.18 per cent, and the Hang Seng by 0.02 per cent. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite is lower by 0.85 per cent.

The Aussie dollar is slightly lower this afternoon, currently buying 71.06 US cents, 54.44 pence, and 11.57 South African Rand.

Today's ups and downs

A solid profit guidance upgrade saw shares in audiovisual tech distributor Ambertech (ASX:AMO) double today. The company is now expecting to earn between $34 million and $38 million in total revenue and post a profit of between $2.4 million and $2.8 million for the first half of the 2020 financial year. For comparison, the company made $26 million in revenue and posted a $1.8 million half-yearly loss over the same period last year. Shares soared 108.33 per cent to a seven-year high of 25 cents each.

Billion-dollar mineral sands miner Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) halved in value today as shares fell to a 10-year low of $5.12 each. However, shareholders likely aren't worried: the company's spinoff business, Deterra Royalties (ASX:DRR), started trading on the ASX today, and each Iluka shareholder pocketed one free DRR share for every ILU share held. Deterra shares closed worth $4.60 each — meaning if you combined the two share prices, shareholders are only down by 18 cents or 1.8 per cent.


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