The ASX 200 is slumping for the first time this week, with the index down 2.1 per cent to 5,880. The signficaint decline is more than enough to wipe out the small gains recorded in prior sessions and drags the market to a fresh five-week low following the biggest tumble in four months on Friday.
The US market fell by as much as 4 per cent overnight, as the tech led decline continues. Much loved names like Apple, Facebook and Microsoft slumped by between 4 – 7 per cent overnight. Shares in Tesla slumped by 21 per cent after not being included in the S&P 500. Its addition to the index would have boosted demand for shares in the electric car maker.
Astrazeneca has placed its promising vaccine trial on pause after a ‘suspected adverse event’. Essentially, the discovery of a sick trial patient means the UK drug company will need to review the situation for safety reasons. This has weighed on CSL shares, which are down by ~2.5 per cent. CSL announced plans to manufacture 30 million doses of Astrazeneca’s vaccine if trials continued to be successful.
Energy stocks are among the hardest hit due to a 7.5 per cent decline in oil prices, adding to the 5.5 per cent slump over the prior two sessions. Woodside (WPL), Santos (STOL) and Origin (ORG) are all declining by ~3 per cent. The ongoing spread of COVID-19 continues to weigh on the oil demand outlook, particularly with transportation hit hard. Transportation accounts for two thirds of the global oil demand. Recently, Saudi Arabia also cut its oil prices for shipments to Asia for October (lowest price in four months), while also lowering prices to the US market for the first time in six months.
Lendlease (LLC) has completed the sale of its engineering business to Spain’s Acciona. LLC shares are down 1.1 per cent, however is outperforming the broader market.
In September, consumer confidence rose by 18 per cent from 79.5 in August to a reading of 93.8 in September.
AX1, ADH, BXB, AFG, NEC, PCG and SSG are among a group of companies trading ex-dividend today.
On the coronavirus front, Victoria has identified 76 new cases over the past day. Victoria is expected to raise some restrictions at the end of the month on the condition that no more than 50 cases are found daily.
3.2bn shares have changed hands so far worth $3bn. 295 stocks are up, 858 are down and 343 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec