The Australian sharemarket declined further in the afternoon session as major banks weighed heavily on the market. At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.7 per cent or 51 points lower at 7,370.
Across the sectors, 6 out of 11 closed in the red. Financials tumbled 2.7 per cent as the worst performer, followed by materials, down 1.3 per cent, then consumer staples, edging 0.3 per cent lower. Meanwhile, technology was the dominating sector, up 1.6 per cent, followed by utilities, up 0.9 per cent.
Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) tumbled 8.3 per cent following its quarterly update. This lead major banks to follow, with ANZ (ASX:ANZ) closing 2.1 per cent lower, NAB (ASX:NAB) closing 1.3 per cent lower and Westpac (ASX:WBC) closing 1.6 per cent lower.
Agriculture chemical company Nufarm (ASX:NUF) was the worst-performing stock today, dropping 8.6 per cent on its FY21 results, despite having an increase in earnings.
Mining giants fell in the afternoon session, with BHP (ASX:BHP) and Fortescue (ASX:FMG) closing 1.5 and 2 per cent lower, despite iron ore prices trading higher. Meanwhile, gold miners dragged from the early trade, with Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) closing 3.3 per cent lower, Northern Star (ASX:NST ) closing 1.5 per cent lower and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) closing 2.1 per cent lower .
Technology stocks were a spotlight today, led by EML Payments (ASX:EML) closing 3.6 per cent higher, Appen (ASX:APX) closing 4.5 per cent higher, WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) closing 2.9 per cent higher and buy now, pay later giants Afterpay (ASX:APT) and Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) closing 2.1 and 1.9 per cent higher.
Local economic news
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the wage price index (WPI) figures for the September quarter, which measures changes in the price of labour, unaffected by compositional shifts in the labour force, hours worked or employee characteristics.
The WPI rose 0.6 per cent this quarter and 2.2 per cent over the year. The private sector rose 0.6 per cent and the public sector 0.5 per cent.
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Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) recorded cash net profit after tax of $2.2 billion for the September quarter, up 20 per cent on the same period last year but weaker compared to the more recent quarters.
United Malt (ASX:UMG) reported a fall in earnings for the year ending September 30 primarily due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions, as well as a grain shortfall in North America.
Superannuation admin company Link Administration (ASX:LNK) has granted Pepper European Servicing due diligence following Pepper’s non-binding proposal to acquire Link’s banking and credit management business (BCM).
Agricultural chemical company Nufarm (ASX:NUF) has reported strong financial results for year ending September 30, driven by revenue and underlying earnings growth in all regions and its seed technology business.
The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 10 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a fall of 1 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a fall of 6 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 47 points when the market next opens.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 1.6 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Financials, down 2.7 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Uniti Group (ASX:UWL), closing 8.3 per cent higher at $4.18. It was followed by shares in Nickel Mines (ASX:NIC) and Appen (ASX:APX).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nufarm (ASX:NUF), closing 8.6 per cent lower at $4.59. It was followed by shares in Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) and Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN).
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.3 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.5 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 0.2 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1854.69 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.4 per cent higher at US$90.40 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.1 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.63 lower at US$79.11 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.83 US cents.