The Australian sharemarket closed in the red for the second straight day weighed down by stocks trading almost the value of their payout as they trade ex-dividend.
The largest market cap company on the index, BHP (ASX:BHP) fell 6.9 per cent after paying a fully franked dividend of US$2 per share, which is around $2.74. Those who held the stock before the ex-dividend date will be looking forward to a nice payout on Tuesday 21 September. Despite this, the heavyweight miner fell to a nine month low, pressured even further on the decline in the iron ore price.
Adding to the pressure was biotech CSL (ASX:CSL) which was also traded ex-dividend closing 1.8 per cent lower. Supermarket giant Woolworths (ASX:WOW) was another major player to trade ex-dividend closing 1.5 per cent lower.
Across the sectors, technology stocks were the best performer, up 0.8 per cent followed by energy, adding 0.7 per cent. In the green were industrials, property and consumer discretionary marginally adding. Materials lagged 2.5 per cent by no surprise with BHP being the laggard in the index. Healthcare, closed 1.1 per cent lower followed by consumer staples and utilities. Financials and communication services closed flat.
Investors also took a breather after the earnings that came off tap the past few weeks, as Asia starts to ramp up while it trickles off over in Wall St. Company news was on the quiet front with Covid-19 headlines taking some focus.
Attention will now divert to Wall St after their mixed close ahead of their jobs report on Friday (ET). The Fed is watching the labour market closely for “substantial further progress” to determine a definite timing around tapering their asset purchases program. As another lead up, the weekly jobless claims data is set to be published as well as the July international trade and factory orders.
At the closing bell, ASX 200 was 0.6 per cent or 41 points lower at 7,486.
Local economic news
Australia’s trade surplus surged by $1 billion in July to a new record high at $12.1 billion as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics. For the month, a 5 per cent jump in exports at $2 billion from June and a 3 per cent gain at $33.8 billion was seen in imports.
Meanwhile, new home loan commitments rose 0.2 per cent, personal fixed term loans jumped 14.2 per cent higher while business construction loans catapulted higher by 56 per cent in July.
Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) celebrates a joint venture deal with Tokyo-based NSF Engagement Corporation in a bid to boost their presence in Asia.
Bernie Brookes, former Myer chief has handed the baton over to Gideon Shmuel as CEO of Dotz Nano (ASX:DTZ) as of today. Mr Brookes will move back to the role of the company’s chairman.
The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a fall of 29 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 1 point.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 11 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 10 points when the market next opens.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 0.8 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Materials, down 2.5 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Altium (ASX:ALU), closing 4.3 per cent higher at $31.25. It was followed by shares in Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV) and PolyNovo (ASX:PNV).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was BHP Group (ASX:BHP), closing 6.9 per cent lower at $41.94. It was followed by shares in United Malt Group (ASX:UMG) and Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN).
Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.2 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.03 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 0.6 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1813.93 an ounce.
Iron ore is 6.7 per cent lower at US$143.43 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.6 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.24 lower at US$68.35 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.77 US cents.
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