The Aussie market is again lower on Thursday and is giving back a chunk of Wednesday’s gains. The ASX 200 is down 55 points or 1% to 5,866 but has clawed back some of its losses on the open where it was down 99 points. Weakness locally follows even sharper declines on Wall Street overnight where the major indexes fell between 1.9% and 3%, with the tech heavy NASDAQ underperforming.
Investors globally remain concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in the northern hemisphere, particularly Europe and the UK while the health of the US economy is also a point of interest following comments by US Fed chair Jerome Powell on the need for more fiscal stimulus.
The selling on the ASX has been widespread with no sector spared from the sell down. The sharpest fall is in the Information Technology sector closely followed by materials, energy and communications. Utilities and industrials are experiencing the smallest declines.
Leading the declines among the tech space is Afterpay (APT), with the BNPL provider sliding 4.6%. Softer commodity prices are also weighing heavily on local mining stocks. Both iron ore and gold fell over 2% overnight leading to sharp falls particularly for miners of the precious metal. Gold miners like Evolution Mining (EVN) are down 5% while Champion Iron (CIA) is tumbling 10%.
The banks are also a drag with the big four all in the red, although well off earlier lows. Westpac (WBC) is down 0.7% after it agreed to pay a $1.3 billion fine following proceedings with financial crimes regulator AUSTRAC in the Federal Court relating to 23 million breaches of AntiMoney Laundering/ Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) laws. Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is faring slightly worse and falling 0.8%.
Adventure retailer, Kathmandu (KMD) is bouncing back by 5% after it tumbled 8.5% yesterday on an 85% drop to its FY20 net profit after tax (NPAT). Sales and profit were both heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel stocks like Flight Centre (FLT) and Webjet (WEB) are also higher.
The AUD is now at fresh two month lows as it buys 70.7 US cents. So far, 2.8b units have traded worth $2.7b with 341 stocks higher, 825 lower and 334 unchanged.
Published by CommSec