SYDNEY, AAP – Energy stocks were soaring on the ASX along with oil prices as investors doubted the reliability of supply from Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.
Energy stocks were up four per cent on Monday but little else as the global economic impact of the conflict in Europe continued to dominate attention.
The United States and European allies are considering banning imports of Russian oil as they seek more ways of inflicting financial damage on Vladimir Putin. Brent crude last traded for $US118.11 per barrel.
Meanwhile ASX technology stocks had the biggest losses after Wall Street closed last week lower.
Technology shares were down four per cent. Afterpay owner Block continued its yo-yo trading performance of late and fell 10 per cent to $137.24.
There were losses of two per cent for industrials, consumer discretionaries, healthcare and telecommunications.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 58.5 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 7052.3 points at 1200 AEDT.
The All Ordinaries index dropped 60 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 7335.3 points.
In company news, AGL has rejected a sweetened takeover bid from a consortium led by Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes and will run its own demerger and decarbonisation plans.
The consortium had lifted its offer to $8.25 per share, worth about $9 billion plus debt, from an initial unsolicited bid of $7.50 in late February.
AGL was down one per cent to $7.33.
Most energy shares were doing much better given the gains in oil prices.
Woodside Petroleum was one of the top performers and climbed seven per cent to $33.87.
The founders of buy now, pay later group Zip have bought $1.5 million worth of shares.
Larry Diamond has the greatest stake and owns nine per cent of the company. Peter Gray owns almost three per cent.
Zip recently raised funds to buy Sezzle for $491 million in an all-stock deal.
Zip was down two per cent to $1.68.
Artificial intelligence software vendor Appen has bought a stake in UK company Mindtech.
Appen is paying about $3.5 million for a minority stake at the same time as other investors join.
Appen was down two per cent to $6.90.
South32 has stopped the sale of a manganese alloy smelter and said the would-be buyer had not met all conditions.
South32’s Samancor Manganese Joint Venture, which owns the Metalloys smelter in South Africa, was to sell it to Satka Investments.
The miner is assessing options for the smelter, which stopped production in 2020.
South32 was better by three per cent to $5.36.
Materials shares were the only category other than energy to move higher.
BHP and Fortescue each rose one per cent to $50.44 and $19.56 respectively. Rio Tinto shed less than half a per cent to $126.32.
The big banks were all lower. NAB fared worst and shed two per cent to $28.31.
The Australian dollar was buying 73.93 US cents at 1200 AEDT, more than the 73.58 US cents at Friday’s close.