SYDNEY, AAP – US payments giant Block has made its debut on the ASX but the market was broadly weaker after a downturn on Wall Street.

Block, which replaces merger partner Afterpay on the ASX, had its chess depositary interests lowered by 0.56 per cent to $176.25 by 1200 AEDT on Thursday.

Chess depositary interests provide the benefits of owning shares in a company without the investor owning their legal title.

Shares in technology, financials, telecommunications and property had the greatest losses on the ASX and were each down a little more than one per cent.

Strength in materials shares were offsetting losses. Materials gained 2.3 per cent after a rise in the iron ore price.


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The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 19.5 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 7313 points at 1200 AEDT.

The All Ordinaries index was lower by 17.9 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 7638.7 points.

Corporate earnings and worries about higher US bond yields weighed on Wall Street overnight.

The main three markets each lost about one per cent as the prospect of higher interest rates made shares in big technology companies less appealing.

In Australia, the unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 4.2 per cent in December from 4.6 per cent the previous month, marking its lowest level since August 2008.

The Reserve Bank had predicted a jobless rate of 4.75 per cent by the end of 2021, only dropping to 4.5 per cent by the middle of 2022.

On the ASX, Woodside benefited from higher oil prices and improved fourth-quarter sales by 86 per cent on the same time a year earlier.

The company had sales of $US2.85 billion courtesy of an average oil price of $US90 per barrel.

Woodside revealed its full-year earnings would include write-downs of $US582 million for major assets.

Shares were up 0.29 per cent to $25.49.

Santos boasted record fourth-quarter sales thanks to its takeover of Oil Search.

The oil giant had sales of $US1.53 billion, a marked rise on the $US922 million in the same quarter the previous year.

Production and sales were also higher than the third-quarter of 2021.

Shares were down 0.20 per cent to $7.18.

Miners had solid gains courtesy of the iron ore price. BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto were each higher by about two per cent.

The banks were all lower. The Commonwealth and NAB fared worst of the big four and lost about 1.3 per cent each.

In technology, buy now, pay later provider Zip improved second-quarter sales by 58 per cent.

Customer numbers and the value of sales were also higher by about the same measure.

Shares were down 1.63 per cent to $3.60.

The Australian dollar was buying 72.36 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 71.88 US cents at Wednesday’s close.