The local market is extending its losing streak into a fourth session with the ASX 200 falling another 25 points or 0.4% to 6149 heading into lunch.
Almost every sector is in negative territory with losses in the healthcare and communications sectors the worst performers. In the health space, CSL Ltd (CSL) is the main weight, down 1.6%. REA Group (REA) and Telstra (TLS) are the dragging the communications sector lower.
The financials and materials remain weaker following losses late in the session yesterday, in particular for the major banks. Today, three of the four big banks are again in the red with ANZ Bank (ANZ) managing to advance 0.3%.
There are still a handful of improvements among local shares with defensive names among the outperformers. Gold miners are lifting along with utilities. Newcrest Mining (NCM) is up 3% while Saracen Minerals (SAR) is 3.3% higher.
Tech stock, Appen (APX) is recovering some of yesterday’s 9.5% loss following the completion of a $285 million institutional placement to fund an acquisition of a US based software platform. APX shares are up 4.2%.
Payment services firm, Zip Co (Z1P) is in a trading halt pending the release of announcement to the market for a proposed capital raising. Z1P last traded at $1.66 per share.
Sigma Healthcare (SIG) is falling 3.7% after the board decided against accepting a proposed takeover bid from Australian Pharmaceuticals Industries (API), roughly valuing SIG at $726.5 million. The board rejected the offer as it did not believe it reflected the company’s long term prospects and value. API shares are down 2.1%.
The Aussie dollar has weakened against the greenback as it buys 70.61 US cents. The local unit was as high as 70.9US before easing on a 4.8% slide in March consumer confidence data to 98.8 (a score under 100 means pessimists outweigh optimists).
So far, 1.2b units have traded worth $2.3b with 461 stocks higher. 475 lower and 356 unchanged. Published by CommSec