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ASX closes 0.2% lower: Financials is worst perfomer

On Thursday, the Australian sharemarket slightly declined by 0.2 percent, driven primarily by a downturn in the financial sector, particularly among the major banks, offsetting gains in the mining sector sparked by a rally in copper prices following potential production cuts by Chinese smelters.

The market’s slip mirrored similar falls in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite, with attention focused on upcoming US retail sales data expected to shed light on the state of the US economy and potential Federal Reserve rate cuts, amidst growing uncertainty regarding the timing and scale of such monetary policy adjustments, as highlighted by Westpac’s chief economist Luci Ellis.

Additionally, corporate developments saw Arafura Rare Earths surging after securing a federal financial package, while Myer appointed a new executive chairwoman amid declining sales, and Appen faced setbacks with a withdrawn takeover bid and confidential takeover offer revelations, while Aussie Broadband incurred losses after losing a significant deal to a competitor.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 28 points.

The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 6.25 points.

The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 52.25 points.

The SPI futures are down 15 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Materials, up 1.85 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down 1.88 per cent.

The best-performing large cap was Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), closing 5.96 per cent higher at $3.38. It was followed by shares in South32 (ASX:S32) and IGO (ASX:IGO).

The worst-performing large cap was REA Group (ASX:REA), closing 4.23 per cent lower at $179.33. It was followed by shares in ANZ Group Holdings (ASX:ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.15 per cent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.92 per cent.

China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.54 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2,175.20 an ounce.

Iron ore is 2.9 per cent lower at US$107.15 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 2 per cent fall.

Light crude is trading $0.02 higher at US$79.74 a barrel.

One Australian dollar is buying 66.15 US cents.