ASX suffers behind iron ore slump, banks drop: Aus shares close 2.1% lower

The Australian sharemarket suffered one of its worst days this year as the local bourse continued to fall in the afternoon session. At the closing bell, the ASX/200 was 2.1 per cent or 156 points lower at 7,248.

Across the sectors, utilities was the only sector that finished in the black. Materials weighed heavily on the market, down 3.7 per cent, as iron ore prices continue to sink. Energy was behind them, down 3 per cent, while industrials, tech, financials also contributed to the losses.

As iron ore prices dropped, mining giants suffered. Champion Iron (ASX:CIA) closed 12.7 per cent lower, BHP (ASX:BHP) closed 3.9 per cent lower, Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 3.3 per cent lower and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 3.6 per cent lower.

Major banks dropped in afternoon trading, with Westpac (ASX:WBC) closing the lowest, down 2 per cent. Oil prices also fell with Santos (ASX:STO) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) closing 3.2 and 2.9 per cent lower, while Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closed 2.3 per cent lower. Payment software Xero (ASX:XRO) closed 3.9 per cent lower as the company announced a secretary change. 

In headlines, electricity operator AusNet (ASX:AST) closed 19.2 per cent higher in the wake of the announcement of a $9.6 billion takeover bid from the Canadian infrastructure giant Brookfield. Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) closed 1.4 per cent lower following its August results. 

Company news

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A consortium led by toll road giant Transurban (ASX:TCL) will take full control of WestConnex after signing a deal with the NSW government for a 49 per cent stake in the road with a bid of $11.1 billion.

Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) faced another challenging month in August after continued border restrictions and stay-at-home-orders in NSW.

Global infrastructure investor Brookfield has made a revised non-binding offer to buy all shares in AusNet (ASX:AST) at $2.50 per share.

Charter Hall Long WALE (ASX:CLW) and a Charter Hall managed trust on behalf of Hostplus have entered into a $1.68 billion deal to buy ALE Property (ASX:LEP).

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 329 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 34 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 84 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 147 points when the market next opens.

IPO

Pearl Gull Iron (ASX:PLG) started trading today. It issued at $0.20, opened at $0.20 and closed at $0.175.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector and the only sector in the black was Utilities, up 1 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Materials, down 3.7 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was AusNet Services (ASX:AST), closing 19.2 per cent higher at $2.36. It was followed by shares in Endeavour (ASX:EDV) and Nufarm (ASX:NUF).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Champion Iron (ASX:CIA), closing 12.3 per cent lower at $4.48. It was followed by shares in Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei was closed due to Respect for the Aged Day.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 3.1 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite was closed due to the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1751.57 an ounce.
Iron ore is 4.9 per cent lower at US$101.95 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 6.9 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.60 lower at US$71.22 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.36 US cents.

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