Energy & banks rise, Retail trade falls 1.7%: ASX down 0.8% at noon

The Australian sharemarket is in negative territory this morning weighed down by health and tech stocks. Despite a positive start yesterday, at noon the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.8 per cent or 61.3 points lower at 7322.9. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 60 points.

Across the sectors, eight out of eleven are in the red. Healthcare is dragging the most, down 2.9 per cent. Technology is next, down 2.1 per cent, then real estate, down 1.3 per cent. Financials and utilities are edging higher, while energy is adding the most, up 3.4 per cent.

The best-performing stock is Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), trading 8.1 per cent higher following a rise in oil prices over night. The worst performing stock is the cloud network operator Megaport (ASX:MP1), down 7.1 per cent.

Health stocks are dragging the index lower. Health care giant CSL (ASX:CSL) is trading 3.5 per cent lower, Sonic (ASX:SHL) is down 3.4 per cent, Promedicus (ASX:PME) is down 5.7 per cent and ResMed (ASX:RMD) is down 2.8 per cent. Payment software Xero (ASX:XRO) is down 4 per cent, WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) is down 2.6 per cent, and Afterpay (ASX:APT) is down 1.4 per cent.

Despite a rise in iron ore prices, heavyweight miner BHP (ASX:BHP) fell 1.1 per cent. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) also fell 2.2 and 4.2 per cent. Gold prices softened. Evolution mining (ASX:EVN) is down 5.3 per cent and paying a dividend today. Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) is down 3.9 per cent.

Property group Charter Hall (ASX:CHC) fell 4.6 per cent. Travel stocks fell with Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) down 1 per cent. Retail gaint Coles (ASX:COL) is down 1.7 per cent and is paying a dividend today among a number of other companies.

On a positive note, oil stocks surged with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) up 4 per cent. Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) is up 3.1 per cent, after investing an extra $70 million into UK Octopus. Major banks are also higher, with Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) leading the pack, up 1.1 per cent.

Local economic news

The weekly consumer sentiment from ANZ-Roy Morgan was released this morning. Consumer confidence was up for the third straight week, up by 0.4 points to 103.7 in late September.

The small increase came as Australians focused on domestic issues in recent weeks after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews outlined the state’s re-opening plan a week ago and both NSW and Victoria are now set to re-open during October. Despite the increase consumer confidence remains well below the 2021 weekly average of 108.5, but is now 8.7 points higher than the same week a year ago, September 26/27, 2020 (95.0).

Consumer Confidence this week was up slightly in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia and down slightly in the other states. In good news for retailers, driving this week’s increase was an increasing proportion of Australians saying now is a ‘good time to buy’ major household items.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released their retail trade figures from August. Turnover and volumes for retail businesses, fell 1.7 per cent month-on-month. This was the third consecutive monthly fall in turnover following falls of 2.7 per cent in July 2021, and 1.8 per cent in June 2021. It also fell 0.7 per cent compared with August 2020.

Another full month of lockdown has seen NSW fall 3.5 per cent to its lowest level since April 2020 when the pandemic first hit. After having restrictions eased in July, Victoria fell 3 per cent as the state was placed back into an ongoing lockdown on August 5.

Company news

Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) plan to invest an additional $70 million (£38 million) in the UK energy regulator Octopus after generation investment management (GIM) invested $397 million (£211 million) into the company.

Health insurer nib (ASX: NHF) has put a hold on travel insurance sales to Australian and New Zealand residents across all its brands from next month as travel restrictions still linger.

IPO’s

Li-S Energy (ASX:LIS) has listed on the ASX today with an issue price of $0.85. The shares opened at $2.00, touched a high of $3.05 and are now trading at $2.33.

Dalaroo Metals (ASX:DAL) has also listed on the ASX today with an issue price of $0.20. The shares opened at $0.315. and are now trading at $0.305

Best and worst performers 

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 3.4 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Health Care, down 2.9 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), trading 8.1 per cent higher at $1.33. It is followed by shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) and Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Megaport (ASX:MP1), trading 7.1 per cent lower at $15.99. It is followed by shares in Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1754.29 an ounce.
Iron ore is 7.2 per cent higher at US$119.31 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 4.1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.83 US cents.