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Aussie shares are sliding for a second day, with the ASX 200 easing by 0.12 per cent to 7,277 at lunch. The spread of the Delta strain and lockdown uncertainty continues to keep markets on edge. While last week’s gains have been wiped out in just two sessions, it has bounced back from this morning’s low and follows a more significant 1.6 per cent tumble for the S&P500 overnight. On the open, the ASX 200 was down by as much as 1.1 per cent before steadily staging a recovery to noon.

What remains clear is over the past month, the month has lacked the enthusiasm that led the ASX 200 to a record high in mid-June and nine consecutive months of gains. The ASX 200 has been stuck between ~7200-7400pts for around one month.

The COVID-19 and lockdown worries remain. Victoria’s five-day lockdown has been extended for a further seven days. Greater Sydney is now in week four of lockdowns. While there were 78 cases identified over the past day (an improvement on yesterday’s 98), the number of people active in the community during their infectious period was 27. South Australia will go into lockdown from 6pm tonight.

A recovery from tech, healthcare and some retailers is helping to limit the ASX200’s losses.

JB Hi-Fi (JBH) is up 3.1 per cent after flagging record sales and profits for FY21. In its preliminary numbers, JBH said net profit has jumped by 67 per cent to $506m. This reflects the continued strength in demand for both home appliances and consumer electronics during the pandemic.

Energy stocks are hardest hit unsurprisingly due to a ~7.5 per cent tumble in oil prices overnight. Prices have declined partly on lower demand concerns due to the fast spreading Delta strain of COVID19 and OPEC+ agreeing to gradually ramp up oil production through to September 2022.

Oil Search (SOH) is an outlier in the energy space today, lifting by ~4.5 per cent on news that Santos (STO) has launched an ~$8.8bn proposal to merge with the PNG focused energy stock. STO’s ~$4.25 per share offer is ~16 per cent above OSH’s closing price on Monday. A combined energy company would make it a ~$20bn stock on the ASX.

BHP provided an update this morning, with production over the June quarter lifting by 9 per cent to 65.2Mt on the March quarter and was 2 per cent lower than a year earlier. Near record iron ore prices (its biggest export) has helped BHP post record profits and dividends recently.

2.4bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $3bn. 426 stocks are up, 877 are down and 405 are flat.

Published by CommSec