Aussie shares are slumping at lunch, with the ASX 200 down by ~2.25 per cent, currently making it the worst day for our market since 30 September 2020. While this is enough to wipe out most of this month’s gains and briefly took the ASX 200 back below the 6600pt support level for the first time in three weeks, the local bourse has bounced off this morning’s lows.
This follows a 2.5 per cent slump for the US market overnight, the S&P 500’s worst daily decline since October 2020. The Wall Street Journal attributed this to delays to COVID vaccine distribution in the US. Apple, Facebook and Tesla all released their latest quarterly results earlier today. Apple had its most profitable quarter on record, generating US$111bn in sales and a 29 per cent lift in profit to US$28.76bn between October and December 2020 (~A$37.6bn). This was fuelled by higher-end iPhone sales and pandemic induced demand for tablets and laptops. Facebook posted record revenue and profit while Tesla recorded its first annual profit.
All sectors were lower at 12:10pm AEDT, with Tech stocks the hardest hit, followed by Healthcare, Energy, Mining and Financials.
Heading into the profit reporting season next week, a number of companies are releasing quarterly updates.
Fortescue Metals (FMG) is down 3.5 per cent (down ~10 per cent in just two sessions). FMG recorded an 8 per cent drop in iron ore production over the December quarter but managed to keep shipments steady on a year earlier. FMG shares more than doubled in 2020 and hit record highs earlier this month.
Australia’s largest gold miner, Newcrest (NCM) recorded a 6 per cent lift in quarterly gold production to 535,000oz, and 35kt in copper output. NCM’s All-In Sustaining Cost (AISC) eased by $12 to $968/oz. A lift in production was partly driven by a reduction in scheduled maintenance.
Evolution’s (EVN) gold production also rose by 6 per cent to 180,305oz with its AISC easing by 3 per cent to A$1166/oz. EVN remains on track to achieve its FY21 group guidance.
Buy-now-pay-later company, Splitit (SPT) posted another record result, with merchant sales volume expanding by 218 per cent to US$86.3m, group revenue surging by 359 per cent and the company added 70,000 shoppers.
5.6bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $4.8bn. 257 stocks are up, 1160 down and 303 are unchanged.