SYDNEY, AAP – Surging coronavirus infections have taken a toll on the ASX as supermarkets and chicken suppliers struggling to move goods were among shares taking a beating.
The market lost 0.77 per cent on Tuesday and almost all share categories were lower as the Omicron coronavirus variant stops many workers doing their jobs.
Poultry producer Inghams revealed the challenges affecting many businesses and reported staff and sales were down due to the virus.
The company has suspended producing some products due to a smaller workforce.
Inghams could not quantify the impact on trade but investors took the hint. They sent shares lower by almost six per cent to $3.32.
The supermarkets have the same problems as more workers are forced to isolate.
Consumer staples shares, which includes the retail giants, were the worst performing category.
Coles, IGA operator Metcash and Woolworths each lost a little more than two per cent.
Collins Foods, which runs KFC outlets in Australia, earlier revealed it was offering a reduced menu due to supply shortages of chicken. Shares dropped 3.45 per cent to $12.30.
Materials shares were the only category to avoid losses and were little changed.
IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda said investors would expect weaker profits as the outbreak delivered a considerable hit to the economy.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 57 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 7390.1 points.
The All Ordinaries index closed lower by 55.4 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 7710.7 points.
In the US, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell had more say on inflation prior to this week’s US figures.
Mr Powell said high inflation was taking a toll on families and the economy was expanding at its fastest pace in many years.
In ASX company news, surgical skin products maker PolyNovo attracted plenty of interest from investors after revealing first-half sales were up 45 per cent.
Better sales in the US have been the driver. Year-to-date sales in the US were up 58 per cent to $14.2 million.
Shares rose 25.17 per cent to $1.79.
Property shares were the next hardest hit after consumer staples. Goodman Group, GPT and Mirvac each lost about two per cent.
The big banks lost some lustre. ANZ and the Commonwealth each lost a little more than one per cent.
The big miners were mixed. BHP shed 0.29 per cent to $44.65. Fortescue rose 2.33 per cent to $21.12. Rio Tinto gained 0.36 per cent to $106.37.
In technology, the Andrew Forrest-backed wireless internet provider Swoop is buying Adelaide fibre network operator iFibre.
Swoop will gain a 34km fibre network and customers for $1.5 million.
Shares were down 0.62 per cent to $1.60.
The Australian dollar was buying 71.88 US cents at 1723 AEDT, lower from 71.93 US cents at Monday’s close.
ON THE ASX
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 57 points, or 0.77 per cent, to 7390.1 points on Tuesday.
* The All Ordinaries index closed lower by 55.4 points, or 0.71 per cent, to 7710.7 points.
* At 1723 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was higher by two points, or 0.03 per cent, at 7295 points.
One Australian dollar buys:
* 71.88 US cents, from 71.93 cents on Monday
* 82.80 Japanese yen, from 83.28 yen
* 63.37 Euro cents, from 63.47 cents
* 52.86 British pence, from 52.94 pence
* 106.17 NZ cents, from 106.20 cents.