SYDNEY, AAP – Shares have made an underwhelming start to the week and the Australian dollar has momentarily dropped below 70 US cents.
The Australian market was down about 0.2 per cent on Monday after US markets closed lower on Friday on increasing rate hike expectations.
ASX technology shares were most troubled and lost a little more than two per cent.
Afterpay shares fell as the company adjourned a shareholder meeting which was to consider payments giant Square purchasing it.
The shareholder meeting has been postponed to December 14 while the company waits for the Bank of Spain to approve the proposal.
Shares were down 4.67 per cent to $93.65.
Healthcare shares were the next worst. Market giant CSL declined by a little more than two per cent to $291.14.
Consumer staples shares had the greatest improvement and were higher by almost two per cent. Coles and Woolworths each gained a little more than two per cent.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 13.7 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 7227.5 points at 1200 AEDT.
The All Ordinaries was lower by 20.7 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 7522.9 points.
Meanwhile, rate hike expectations in the US have helped the greenback higher and send the Aussie dollar lower.
A better-than-expected US jobs report on Friday gave more credence to views that the Federal Reserve will have to raise rates sooner than expected.
In ASX company news, food and grocery distributor Metcash, which supplies the IGA supermarkets network, has lifted first-half profit as more people shopped locally during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Net profit rose three per cent to $128 million, while underlying pre-tax earnings expanded by almost 14 per cent to $231.2 million in the six months ended October.
Shares were up almost 5.5 per cent to $4.16.
Boral is selling its North American fly ash business for about $1 billion.
The company wants to focus on building materials in Australia and has found a buyer in Eco Material Technologies.
Shares were up almost three per cent to $6.35.
The big miners were struggling. BHP shed almost 2.5 per cent to $39.23. Fortescue was little changed at $17.11. Rio Tinto was down about 1.5 per cent to $94.03.
In banking, there was little movement. ANZ was lower by about 0.5 per cent to $26.88. The others in the big four were little changed.
Sigma Healthcare has substantially lowered its full-year earnings forecast.
In September, growth of five per cent was expected. The company has since changed this to a drop of 10 per cent.
A troubled rollout of SAP software has affected customers and sales.
Shares were down 4.76 per cent to 50 cents.
Shares in industrial product distributor Vulcan Steel rose after the company upgraded its earnings forecast.
The New Zealand business has had strong sales since lockdowns ended and increased full-year earnings and profit guidance by about 25 per cent.
Shares rose 6.41 per cent to $8.62.
The Australian dollar was buying 70.16 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 70.76 US cents at Friday’s close.