The Aussie market is well lower to start the new week with local shares following losses on Wall Street on Friday’s session. The ASX 200 is weaker for a second session in a row and is down 113 points or 1.5% at 7,291 at midday.
Declines on the local market have been broad with nearly every sector in the red after the opening few hours of trade. Materials is falling most while energy and IT are also underperforming. Only the utilities sector is improving.
Miners are under pressure as metals prices were generally lower over the weekend. Iron ore continues its recent price slump and has fallen to 14-month lows, just above US$100 per tonne. Iron ore fell 5.4% on Friday and was down close to 22% last week. Fortescue Metals (FMG) is down 6.9% with BHP Group (BHP) dropping 4.8% and Rio Tinto (RIO) declining 5.5%. The three miners are taking off ~30 points from the ASX 200 alone.
Among the improvers, Endeavour Group (EDV), which recently demerged from Woolworths (WOW), is up 3%
while electricity grid owner, AusNet (AST) is jumping 18%. AusNet is surging on the back of a proposed takeover offer from private equity firm Brookfield Asset Management. The improved takeover offer is for $2.50 per share after the company had previously offered $2.35 and $2.45 per share offers in August.
There have been several announcements relating to takeovers with Transurban (TCL) in a trading halt as it looks to raise funds to acquire the remaining 49% stake of the WestConnex motorway currently owned by the NSW Government for $11.1 billion. TCL will own WestConnex under the Sydney Transport Partners in which it has a 50% stake. TCL is looking to raise $4.22 billion to help fund the acquisition.
Childcare operator, G8 Education (GEM) has agreed to acquire Leor, a provider of in-home childcare and NDIS services, for $2 million upfront. The total potential consideration payable is $9.5 million, depending on earnings targets. GEM is 2.1% lower.
The Aussie dollar is weaker at 72.43 US cents.
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