AGL Energy falls 7%, tech & health stocks rally: ASX closes 0.3% lower

The Australian sharemarket trimmed its losses in the afternoon session, but was still weighed down by miners and energy stocks. At the closing bell, the ASX/200 was 0.3 per cent or 20 points lower at 7,417.

Across the sectors, energy was the worst-performer, closing 2.2 per cent lower, with materials and utilities not far behind. Financials were edging lower. Health, technology and real estate were the dominating sectors, with health care closing as the best performer, up 1.2 per cent. 

Mining giants took a hit today after iron ore prices dropped. BHP (ASX:BHP) was the main drag, closing 3.5 per cent lower, followed by Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), which closed 1.9 per cent lower. However, lithium miners surged, with Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) closing 8.4 per cent higher as the best-performing stock.

Across the energy stocks, Santos (ASX:STO) and Oil search (ASX:OSH) closed 3.7 and 2.5 per cent lower after a mixed night on oil prices. Energy retailer AGL (ASX:AGL) closed 7.1 per cent lower as the worst-performing stock, Worley (ASX:WOR) closed 4.7 per cent lower and Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) closed 3.9 per cent lower. 

Health stocks CSL (ASX:CSL) and ResMed (ASX:RMD) closed 1.5 and 1.7 per cent higher. WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) closed 3.1 per cent higher. Out of the major banks, Westpac (ASX:WBC) performed the best closing 0.4 per cent higher while NAB (ASX:NAB) led the fall closing 0.4 per cent lower.

Local economic news

The Westpac Melbourne Institute released their September consumer confidence report this morning. Consumer Sentiment increased by 2.0 per cent to 106.2 in September from 104.1 in August. While Australia’s two major cities have been lock-down, the index is still comfortably above the reads seen over the five years prior to the pandemic and is 0.9 per cent below its June print just prior to Sydney’s move into lock-down.

The latest month has seen confidence in NSW lift 5.3 per cent to 106.4 while confidence in Victoria held steady at 104.1 despite the state moving back into another extended lock-down in early August.

Company news

Please join us for Stocks of the Hour here. 

Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) will contribute to a US therapy trial, designed to treat prostate cancer.

Hotel Property Investments (ASX:HPI) raised $50 million to partially fund the acquisition of Edwardes Lake Hotel in Melbourne for $28 million.
Calix (ASX:CXL) is selling a $24.5 million stake in its LEILAC business to global decarbonisation investment group Carbon Direct.

IPOs

Copper Search (ASX:CUS) started trading today. It issued at $0.35, opened at $0.42 and closed at $0.40.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 35 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 4 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 16 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 24 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Health Care, up 1.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Energy, down 2.2 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), closing 8.4 per cent higher at $2.45. It was followed by shares in Elders (ASX:ELD) and Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was AGL Energy (ASX:AGL), closing 7.4 per cent lower at $5.85. It was followed by shares in Worley (ASX:WOR) and PointsBet Holdings (ASX:PBH).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.5 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 1.6 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1804.52 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.8 per cent lower at US$121.67 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 2.8 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.51 higher at US$70.74 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.20 US cents. 

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