Tech drags, Qantas drops 4%, Gold stocks soar: ASX closes 1.1% lower

The Australian sharemarket made ground in the afternoon session but stayed in negative territory. Despite a rise in gold stocks, the broad decline led the S&P/ASX 200 to close 1.1 per cent or 79 points lower at 7,197.

All sectors closed in the red, except utilities, which was up 0.2 per cent. Technology dragged the most, down 2.4 per cent. Health care was next, down 2.2 per cent, then energy, down 2.1 per cent. Materials and financials also fell more then 1 per cent.

The best-performing stock was St Barbara (ASX:SBM), closing 6.7 per cent higher as gold stocks lifted. The worst-performing stock was Pinnacle Investment (ASX:PNI), closing 9.1 per cent lower. 

Technology stocks tumbled today. Buy now, pay later star Afterpay (ASX:APT) closed 4.6 per cent lower, after its acquisition partner Square tumbled in the US overnight. Codan (ASX:CDA), a communication network that specialises in metal detection, closed 4.8 per cent lower.

Bio-tech firm CSL (ASX:CSL) and ProMedicus (ASX:PME) continued its losses, closing 2.9 and 2.5 per cent lower. Major banks were deep in the red. Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) closed the lowest, down 1.7 per cent as well as paying a dividend. Energy stocks reversed its gains made yesterday, with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) closing 2.6 per cent lower. Santos (ASX:STO) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) closed 2 and 2.5 per cent lower, while Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) closed 0.4 per cent higher.

Travel stocks fell. Webjet (ASX:WEB) closed 2 per cent lower, Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) closed 1.4 per cent lower and Qantas (ASX:QAN) closed 4.1 per cent lower as travel restrictions remain up in the air. Retail giant Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) dropped 1.8 per cent.

Iron-ore prices dropped with BHP (ASX:BHP) closing 1.8 per cent lower. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) made ground in afternoon, but was still down 0.5 per cent. On a positive note, gold stocks were higher today, with St Barabra (ASX:SBM) as the winning stock. Evolution mining (ASX:EVN) closed 4.2 per cent higher and Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) closed 5.5 per cent higher. 

Company news

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APA Group (ASX:APA) has been given an extension on its superior proposal to the energy giant AusNet (ASX:AST) following their non-binding takeover bid last week. APA (ASX:APA) closed 0.1 per cent lower. 

Gambling and entertainment giant Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) has appointed Anne Ward as their new non-executive director. Crown (ASX:CWN) closed 0.5 per cent lower. 

Supermarket giant Woolworths (ASX:WOW) has committed to $700 million in bonds to further its goals of reducing carbon emissions. Woolworths (ASX:WOL) closed 0.05 per cent lower. 

Smartgroup (ASX: SIQ) has received a buy-out proposal from a consortium comprising investments firms, TPG Global and Potentia Capital. (ASX:SIQ) closed 18.1 per cent higher 

IPO 

Touch Ventures (ASX:TVL) has listed on the ASX today with an issue price of $0.40. The shares opened at $0.58, were trading at $0.565 at lunchtime and closed flat at $0.50. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 146 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 21 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 68 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 78 points when the market next opens.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was Utilities, up 0.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Information Technology, down 2.4 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was St Barbara (ASX:SBM), closing 6.7 per cent higher at $1.35. It was followed by shares in Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) and Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pinnacle Investment (ASX:PNI), closing 9.1 per cent lower at $16.29. It was followed by shares in Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) and Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 2.3 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.4 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 1.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1739.28 an ounce.
Iron ore is 6.1 per cent lower at US$112.06 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.2 per cent.
Light crude is trading $1.35 lower at US$73.94 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.54 US cents.