Miners lift, Consumer staples fall: ASX closes 0.3% lower

The Australian sharemarket jumped around in the afternoon session before easing back some of its losses in the last hour of trade. At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.3 per cent or 20 points lower at 7,236.

Across the sectors, 8 out of 11 closed in the red. Consumer staples were the biggest drag, down 1.9 per cent, followed by utilities, down 1.4 per cent, then real estate, down 1 per cent. Meanwhile, materials closed 0.7 per cent higher as the best-performing sector. 

Automotive company GUD (ASX:GUD) closed almost 8 per cent lower as the worst-performing stock, after returning from its trading halt today. Health imaging company ProMedicus (ASX:PME) closed 7.2 per cent lower, despite not releasing any company announcements.

Travel stocks continued to weigh amid uncertainty around the new Covid-19 omicron variant. Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) closed 1.6 per cent lower, Webjet (ASX:WEB) closed 2.7 per cent lower and Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) closed 2.2 per cent lower.

Supermarket giants Woolworths (ASX:WOW) and Coles (ASX:COL) closed 2.4 and 1.4 per cent lower, while Domino’s Pizza (ASX:DMP) closed 3.4 per cent lower. 

The major banks closed higher, except ANZ (ASX:ANZ) closing flat following class action proceedings filed against them. Westpac (ASX:WBC) led, up 0.8 per cent. 
 
Heavyweight miners lifted, led by Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) up 2.5 per cent as iron ore prices edged higher. 

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics unveiled the September quarter GDP figures. The Australian economy fell 1.9 per cent in seasonally adjusted chain volume measures. In nominal terms, GDP fell 0.6 per cent. The terms of trade rose 0.4 per cent and household saving ratio increased to 19.8 per cent from 11.8 per cent.

IHS Markit and Australian Industry Group slated the purchasing managers figures in the manufacturing sector as of September 2021.

The global economy expanded for a fourteenth straight month in August. The rate of expansion was the slowest since January.

Both manufacturing and service sectors contributed to the easing of growth as Covid-19 cases rose around the world and induced further caution. Impeded by sustained supply-side constraints, global manufacturing growth fell to the lowest in 14 months.

CoreLogic also released its national home value index for November. Australian housing values were 1.3 per cent higher in November, marking the 14th consecutive month where CoreLogic’s national home value index recorded positive value growth.

The November update takes national housing values 22.2 per cent higher over the past 12 months, adding approximately $126,700 to the median value of an Australian home. Although values are continuing to rise, the November result was the softest outcome since January when values rose 0.9 per cent.

Company news

Please join us for Stocks of the Hour here. 

Metal detection and wireless communication business Codan (ASX:CDA) has planned to purchase the UK-based company, Broadcast Wireless Systems (BWS) for an upfront payment of $3.7 million.

Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX:CQR) is set to acquire a 49 interest in 20 Ampol Fuel & Convenience retail centres for $50.5 million on a 5 cap rate.

Casino operator Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) has officially appointed Dr Ziggy Switkowski as its new chairman following the receipt of all required regulatory approvals.

Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) has sold a 55 per cent stake in Colonial First State (CFS) to global investment firm KKR.

IPO

Cosmos Exploration (ASX:C1X) has listed on the ASX today. Their shares issued at $0.20, started trading at $0.18 and closed flat at $0.19.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 172 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 40 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 223 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 3 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Materials, up 0.6 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Consumer Staples, down 1.9 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was South32 (ASX:S32), closing almost 4 per cent higher at $3.67. It was followed by shares in Waypoint REIT (ASX:WPR) and Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was GUD Holdings (ASX:GUD), closing almost 8 per cent lower at $10.78. It was followed by shares in Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) and IDP Education (ASX:IEL).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.8 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.4 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1779.91 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.2 per cent higher at US$100.10 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.48 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.64 higher at US$67.82 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.66 US cents.