ASX tumbles, Afterpay & banks fall, CSL weighs: Aus shares down 1.5% at noon

The Australian sharemarket is off to a challenging start today as most sectors weigh heavily on the index. At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.5 per cent or 109.6 points lower at 7166. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 118 points.

All sectors are in the red except utilities, which is edging 0.2 per cent higher. Technology is dragging the most, down 2.9 per cent. Materials and healthcare are next, both down 2.3 per cent. Energy has reversed after yesterday’s gains, and is now down 1.5 per cent.

The best-performing stock is gold stock St Barbara (ASX:SBM), trading 4.9 per cent higher. The worst-performing stock is Pinnacle Investment (ASX:PNI), trading 7.9 per cent lower. 

Technology stocks are crumbling. Buy now, pay later star Afterpay (ASX:APT) is down 3.6 per cent, as its acquisition partner Square tumbled in the US overnight. Payment software Xero (ASX:XRO) is down 3.5 per cent and Codan (ASX:CDA) is down 6.6. per cent.

Heavyweight miners are down as iron ore prices decline. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) is dragging the most, down 2.7 per cent cent. Health giant CSL (ASX:CSL) is down 2.8 per cent, with Pro Medicus down (ASX:PME) down 3.1 per cent. Retail giant Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) is also down 1.9 per cent.

Beach Energy (ASX: BPT) is down 1.5 per cent after oil prices pulled back, with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) down 2.2 per cent. Major banks are in the red. Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) is doing the worst, down 1.9 per cent. Travel stocks are also among the fall. Qantas (ASX:QAN) is down 2.1, Webjet (ASX:WEB) is down 1.9 per cent and Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) is down 1.9 per cent.

Company news

APA Group (ASX:APA) has been given an extension on its superior proposal to the energy giant AusNet (ASX:AST) following their non-binding takeover bid last week.

Gambling and entertainment giant Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) has appointed Anne Ward as their new non-executive director.

IPO

Touch Ventures (ASX:TVL) has listed on the ASX today with an issue price of $0.40. The shares opened at $0.58, touched a high of $0.74 and are now trading at $0.565.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Utilities, up 0.02 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 2.9 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is St Barbara (ASX:SBM), trading 4.9 per cent higher at $1.33. It is followed by shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pinnacle Investment (ASX:PNI), trading 7.9 per cent lower at $16.48. It is followed by shares in HUB24 (ASX:HUB) and Codan (ASX:CDA).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1737.02 an ounce.
Iron ore is 6.1 per cent lower at US$112.06 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.39 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.37 US cents.