Local shares have given back most of Wednesday’s 1% gains with the ASX 200 down 52 points or 0.9% to 5,902 so far on Thursday, bringing our benchmark index to the lows of the session at lunch.. This follows mixed trade over on Wall Street overnight where the tech NASDAQ and the broader S&P500 fell but the Dow Jones rose slightly.
Many investors were watching out for today’s unemployment numbers for August with a surprise result to
the upside. Employment rose by 111,000 compared to expectations of a 35,000 decline. Encouragingly, gains were across both full-time and part-time roles, but still predominately part-time. The unemployment rate fell to 6.8% from an expected rise to 7.7%. While this saw an initial spike in the Aussie dollar, back above 73 US cents, it didn’t last with the local unit now back below its pre jobs announcement levels at 72.73.
Market losses have been spread across most sectors but have been led by materials, consumer discretionary and technology. The energy and real estate sectors are the only advancers.
Mining names are being weighed by the sharp fall in iron ore prices, down 3.3% overnight, on concerns of faltering Chinese steel demand. Fortescue Metals (FMG) is among the worst performers on the ASX 200, dropping 4.9%. Rio Tinto (RIO) is sliding 3% while BHP Group (BHP) is down 0.9%. Meanwhile, a pick up in global oil prices is giving local oil stocks a boost. Santos (STO) is up 1.5%.
Some of the major lenders are faring better today with National Bank (NAB) and Westpac (WBC) higher while Commonwealth Bank (CBA) and ANZ Bank (ANZ) edge lower. Buy-now pay-later providers are also generally weaker with Afterpay (APT) easing 5%. Nearmap (NEA) is down 4% as the aerial mapping company opens its retail share purchase plan to raise ~$20 million to help its growth initiatives
Fashion retailer City Chic (CCX) is falling 8% after it was unsuccessful in bidding for the eCommerce assets of bankrupt US retailer Catherines.
So far, 3.2b units have been traded worth $4.4b with 554 stocks higher, 573 lower and 356 unchanged.
Published by CommSec