Health stocks tumble, Banks fall, Energy soars: ASX closes 1.5% lower

The Australian sharemarket had its sixth tumble of the year, closing 1.5 per cent or 109 points lower at 7,276. The local market faded after lunchtime and closed at its lowest point today. There was an obvious surge in energy, thanks to continued gains in oil prices, but it wasn’t enough to help the ASX lift.

All sectors closed in the red except energy and utilities. Energy soared 4.3 per cent as the best performer, while health care was the worst performer, closing 3.6 per cent lower. Technology was the next lowest, down 2.8 per cent, then real estate, down 2.4 per cent. Consumer discretionary, communication, industrial, financials and materials all fell.

Iron ore stocks fell despite a spike in iron ore prices. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) dropped the most, closing 5.6 per cent lower, followed by Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), 3 per cent lower. Gold stocks Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) closed 4.3 and  6.4 per cent lower. Major banks faded in the afternoon, despite being higher in the morning. Westpac (ASX:WBC) was down the most, closing 0.6 per cent lower, bucking the trend from Wall Street

Onto more heavy losses, health giant CSL (ASX:CSL) closed 3.8 per cent lower, followed by Sonic (ASX:SHL), 4.1 per cent lower, and ProMedicus (ASX:PME), 6.7 per cent lower as the worst-performing stock. Buy now, pay later providers Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) and Afterpay (ASX:APT) both closed 1.8 per cent lower. Payment platform Xero (ASX:XRO) closed 6.4 per cent lower. 

Travel stocks also fell, except Flight Centre (ASX:FLT), which closed 1.2 per cent higher. Retail giant Coles (ASX:COL) closed 2.8 per cent lower and paid a dividend today among several other companies.

Energy stocks soared. Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) closed 10.5 per cent higher as the best-performing stock, following its announcement yesterday that it had inked a five-year deal to supply liquefied natural gas to BP Singapore. Oil Search (ASX:OSH) was next, closing 7.1 per cent higher. Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) and Santos (ASX:STO) both closed over 5 per cent higher. 

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

Please join us for Stocks of the Hour here. 

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.

Global pizza chain Domino’s (ASX:DMP) has shaken up its regional leadership team, following the resignation of longstanding Australian and New Zealand CEO Nick Knight.

Growthpoint Properties (ASX:GOZ) is set to invest $50.87 million into APN Industria REIT (ASX: ADI) in order to maintain its 14.5 per cent stake in the real estate investment trust.

IPO’s

Li-S Energy (ASX:LIS) listed on the ASX today with an issue price of $0.85. The shares opened at $2.00 and closed flat $2.33. 

Dalaroo Metals (ASX:DAL) listed on the ASX today with an issue price of $0.20. The shares opened at $0.315 and closed flat at $0.30. 

Koonenberry Gold (ASX:KNB) listed on the ASX today with the issue $0.20. The shares closed at $0.17. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 100 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 8 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 7 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 102 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Energy, up 4.3 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Health Care, down 3.6 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), closing 10.5 per cent higher at $1.36. It was followed by shares in Oil Search (ASX:OSH) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pro Medicus (ASX:PME), closing 6.7 per cent lower at $54.06. It was followed by shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Xero (ASX:XRO).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.2 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.7 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 0.8 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1747.49 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 3.7 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.02 higher at US$76.47 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.05 US cents.