Tech leads broad decline: ASX falls for 4th day, closes 1.3% lower

The Australian sharemarket closed lower for its fourth consecutive session after shares fell further in the afternoon trade, with all eyes on tonight’s interest rate decision from the US Federal Reserve. 

The ASX remained nervous over high inflation pressure following the Fair Work Commission’s decision to raise the minimum wage by a larger-than-expected 5.2 per cent from July in an effort to support low-paid workers. Adding to concerns was an energy crisis that forced the Australian electricity market operator to suspend the spot market for wholesale electricity after confronting soaring costs. 

All sectors closed in the red, led by technology down 3.1 per cent, followed by real estate and energy. The sector with the fewest losses was communication services, down 0.2 per cent.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 1.3 per cent or 85 points lower at 6,601.

The two worst performers in the ASX 200 were tech stocks, after Novonix (ASX:NVX) tumbled 13.6 per cent to $2.47 and Megaport (ASX:MP1) dropped 10.7 per cent to $5.24. The third worst stock was Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN), down 8.9 per cent to $3.86. 

The best performer in the ASX 200 was PolyNovo (ASX:PNV), up 4.8 per cent to $1.30. This was followed by Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) up 4 per cent to $8.87 and Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN) up 3.9 per cent to $10.89. 

Energy stocks fell, led by Woodside Energy (ASX:WDS) down 3.1 per cent to $31.97 and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) down 3.1 per cent to $1.71, while Santos (ASX:STO) closed 1 per cent lower at $8.02.

Major banks tumbled, led by Westpac (ASX:WBC) down 1.8 per cent to $19.70 and ANZ (ASX:ANZ) down 1.8 per cent to $21.60. NAB (ASX:NAB) fell 1.9 per cent to $26.33 and Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) closed 0.6 per cent lower at $90.62.

Iron ore miners were mixed. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) rose 1.3 per cent to $19.88, while BHP (ASX:BHP) fell 0.8 per cent to $43.90 and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) edged 0.1 per cent lower at $110.96.

Gold stocks were mixed. Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) added 1.5 per cent to $3.38, Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) closed 0.1 per cent higher at $23.25 and Northern Star (ASX:NST) closed 1 per cent lower at $7.98.

Local economic news

ANZ and Roy Morgan’s consumer confidence fell 7.6 per cent last week after the RBA raised the cash rate by 50 basis points. 

Meanwhile, Westpac-Melbourne Institute’s consumer sentiment fell for the seventh straight month by 4.5 per cent in June compared to the month before, its lowest point since April 2020 and 19.5 per cent lower from June last year amid a combination of surging prices and the prospect of faster interest rate hikes.

Company news

Aviation services provider Regional Express (ASX:REX) unveiled a steep increase in its services in the major regional centres on its network. Shares closed 3.3 per cent higher at $1.10. 

Ampol (ASX:ALD) is raising $150 million of 60-year subordinated notes callable in six years, paying a margin of 3.8 per cent over the bank bill swap rate. Shares closed 3.6 per cent lower at $33.20. 

Auckland Airport’s (ASX:AIA) total passengers rose 4.2 per cent during April, versus the prior year period, and was down 57.9 per cent compared to the pre-Covid equivalent in April 2019. Shares closed 0.5 per cent higher at $6.61. 

NeuroScientific Biopharmaceuticals (ASX:NSB) announced positive preliminary results of its drug candidate EmtinB™ in a gold standard animal model of multiple sclerosis. Shares closed 8.9 per cent higher at 19 cents. 

The Northern Territory Department approved Lithium Plus Minerals’ (ASX:LPM) mining management plan for its Bynoe Lithium project. Shares closed 23.7 per cent higher at 36 cents. 

Semiconductor developer BluGlass (ASX:BLG) shipped its first laser prototypes to its initial customer in order to gain customer feedback. Shares closed 11.5 per cent higher at $0.029. 

Medical device company ResMed (ASX:RMD) is set to acquire MEDIFOX DAN, a German provider of out-of-hospital software solutions. Shares closed 2.3 per cent lower at $29.08. 

HUB24 (ASX:HUB) reiterated that their FY24 guidance for platform funds under administration will be in the range of $83 billion to $92 billion in their investor presentation. Shares closed 5.3 per cent lower at $20.17. 

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 68 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 13 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 66 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 73 points when the market next opens.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.9 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.6 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has gained 1.9 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1819.10 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.8 per cent lower at US$134.20 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.6 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.21 higher at US$106.57 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.04 US cents.