The Aussie market is lower for a second successive session as investors continue to gauge the spread of the COVID cluster in Sydney. The ASX 200 is down 11 points or 0.16% to 7,287 around midday. US markets mostly moved sideways overnight in a relatively quiet session.
Losses continue to be widespread with the majority of sectors in the red. Financials, energy and healthcare continue to weigh most while materials and IT are among the improvers.
Woolworths (WOW) is a notable decliner as the stock falls 12%. The supermarket chain is falling as it spins off its drinks and hotel business, Endeavour Group, which will today start trading on the ASX as its own independent company with the code EDV. Every eligible WOW shareholder will also receive EDV shares. The demerger allows WOW to focus on its core food business.
Afterpay (APT) is rising 6.5% as the buy-now pay-later provider expands its offering to select app users. It is making its services available directly through its app to access retailers like Nike, Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s and Target. APT shares are up ~40% in June so far and ~10% higher year-to-date.
The Sydney cluster grew by another 11 with the five new cases in the last 24 hours to 8pm and an additional six new cases identified after that cut-off, which will be included in tomorrow’s numbers. It has been a mixed performance from the travel and tourism stocks with Flight Centre (FLT) rising 0.8% while Webjet (WEB) falls 0.3%, Sydney Airport (SYD) eases 0.2% and Qantas (QAN) drops 2.1%.
Westpac (WBC) announced that it is deciding against demerging Westpac New Zealand (WNZL) and instead retain 100% of the business. WBC underwent a review anddecided a demeregr of WNZL would not be in the best interest of shareholders. WBC is down 0.7% with all big four banks in the red.
In economic news, Australia’s total household wealth increased 4.3% to a record $12,664.5 billion in the March Quarter.
The Aussie dollar is slightly firmer against the greenback, supported by strength in commodity prices, particularly iron ore, and is buying 75.7 US cents.
Originally published by James Tao – Media & Capital Markets Analyst (Author), CommSec