The Australian sharemarket tumbled in the afternoon session as new Covid-19 concerns spooked investors. Losses deepened across all sectors, with energy and travel stocks weighing on the market. At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 1.7 per cent or 128 points lower at 7,279. Over the week, it closed 1.6 per cent or 117 points lower.
With all sectors closing in the red, energy tumbled 4.6 per cent as the worst-performing sector. This was followed by materials and financials, both down 2.1 per cent, then technology and consumer discretionary, both down 2 per cent. The sector with the fewest losses was consumer staples, down 0.6 per cent.
Travel stocks weighed amid Covid-19 concerns around the globe. Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) closed 7 per cent lower, Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) closed 5.8 per cent lower, Qantas (ASX:QAN) closed 5.3 per cent lower and Webjet (ASX:WEB) closed 4.6 per cent lower.
Across the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) dropped 5.1 per cent, Santos (ASX:STO) fell 4.9 per cent, Oil Search (ASX:OSH) fell 5.4 per cent and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) lost 4.4 per cent. Adding to the weight, Yancoal (ASX:YAL) tumbled 8.1 per cent, and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) fell 4.7 per cent.
Appen (ASX:APX) closed 18.8 per cent lower as the worst-performing stock, following a broker downgrade.
The major iron ore miners fell as iron ore prices traded lower. This was led by Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) down 4.9 per cent and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) down 4.1 per cent.
Major banks were down, led by NAB (ASX:NAB) and Westpac (ASX:WBC) both closing 2.5 per cent lower. Magellan Financial (ASX:MFG) dropped 5.8 per cent, retail giant Kogan (ASX:KGN) lost 5.5 per cent, Aristocrat (ASX:ALL) fell 2.9 per cent and Afterpay (ASX:APT) fell 2.1 per cent.
Local economic news
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the retail trade figures for October. Retail trade rose 4.9 per cent month-on-month and 5.2 per cent compared with October 2020.
Financial services provider AMP (ASX:AMP) expects to recognise additional impairment charges of around $325 million after tax in its 2021 financial year results.
Banking giant ANZ (ASX:ANZ) has acknowledged that Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has commenced proceedings relating to three unlicensed third parties providing home loan application documents to ANZ lenders.
Petroleum giant Ampol (ASX:ALD) has priced an offering of $500 million subordinated notes due in 2081 to wholesale investors in the domestic fixed income market.
The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 457 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 48 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 88 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 132 points when the market next opens.
Best and worst performers
All sectors closed in the red. The sector with the fewest losses was Consumer Staples, down 0.6 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Energy, down 4.6 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was St Barbara (ASX:SBM), closing 2.2 per cent higher at $1.42. It was followed by shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Appen (ASX:APX), closing 18.8 per cent lower at $9.45. It was followed by shares in Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT) and Corporate Travel Mgmt (ASX:CTD).
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 2.8 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 2.2 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.6 per cent.
Over the last four trading days, the Dow Jones gained 0.6 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 0.1 per cent and the Nasdaq lost 1.3 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1795.74 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.2 per cent lower at US$100.10 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 5.5 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.92 lower at US$76.11 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.41 US cents.