A stop-start week continued with the ASX unwinding the week’s gains as Sunday’s trade deadline cast a long shadow.
The ASX 200 declined 47 points or 0.7 per cent to 6706, the latest misstep in a week when the index has reversed direction each session. Today’s reversal left the index a point below where it finished last week.
Global markets have trended sideways this week as investors wait to see whether the US goes through with tariffs on $US156 billion worth of Chinese imports scheduled to come into force on Sunday. Overnight, the S&P 500 edged up nine points or 0.29 per cent after the Federal Reserve clarified the rates outlook for next year and issued an upbeat assessment of the economy.
The dollar hit its highest level in a monthight, pressuring exporters and other companies that gain most of their earnings overseas. The Aussie was lately buying 68.8 US cents after juming more than a cent overight..
Tech stocks, banks and the big supermarkets took the biggest hits during a morning of broad selling. Wisetech slumped 2.7 per cent to a six-month low, two days after announcing the acquisition of Ready Korea. Appen declined 2.4 per cent, Afterpay 2.3 per cent and Nanosonics 2.3 per cent.
Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths retreated further from record levels hit in late November and earlier this month. Coles shed 1.1 per cent, Woolworths 1.4 per cent. Telstra eased 1.6 per cent.
A dour morning for the big four banks saw CBA fall 0.8 per cent, ANZ 1.3 per cent, NAB 0.9 per cent and Westpac 1 per cent. Metals & mining was among the best of the sectors despite a 0.4 per cent decline in BHP and a 0.1 per cent loss in Rio Tinto.
Agribusiness Wellard jumped 19.6 per cent on news it had reduced a debt overhang by selling one of its ships for $US53 million. At the speculative end of the market, Bio-Gene Technology hit an all-time high after lad tests showed the company’s Flavocide insecticide was effective against disease-carrying mosquitoes. Shares peaked at 32 cents before easing to 25 cents, a gain of 6.4 per cent. Walkabout Resources dived 17 per cent on news of a delay in securing funding for a graphite project in Tanzania.
A mixed morning on Asian
markets saw China’s Shanghai Composite off 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang
Seng up 0.9 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei ahead 0.2 per cent. S&P 500 index futures
were recently up four points or 0.1 per cent.
Brent crude futures rebounded 27 cents or 0.4 per cent this morning to $US63.99 a barrel. Gold was steady at $US1,479.10 an ounce after bouncing $4 in the immediate aftermath of the Fed policy statement..
What’s hot today and what’s not:
Hot today: digital consumer credit firm MoneyMe made a splash upon debut as a listed company after scaling back applications for shares. The $45 million initial public offering was significantly oversubscribed, leaving institutional investors to scramble this morning. Shares listed at $1.25 were selling at $1.60, a 28 per cent premium. The company offers loans direct to consumers through mobile devices.
Not today: RedBubble felt the wrath of aggrieved shareholders after revealing business growth at its namesake marketplace for independent artists had fallen short of expectations. While the company’s TeePublic brand galloped along with year-on-year revenue growth of 59 per cent, the Redbubble marketplace managed a tepid 2 per cent. The company pointed the finger at increased price competition and sluggish clothing sales. Shares dived from $1.81 to as little as $1 before trimming their loss to 75 cents or 41.4 per cent at $1.06.