ASX falls as utilities, telecoms retreat

The Australian share market has closed lower, with every sector falling except for consumer stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Monday down 26.9 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 6,766.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 27.2 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 6,871.7 points.

"It was a bit of a disappointing day today," Bell Direct market analyst Jessica Amir said, noting the positive lead from Wall Street on Friday.

Utilities were the biggest losers, down 1.2 per cent, followed by telecom shares, which fell 0.9 per cent.

The big banks were lower ahead of the release of Reserve Bank of Australia minutes on Tuesday, which could hint at whether the central bank will cut the cash rate for a fourth time in December.

NAB was down 1.2 per cent to $27.31 after announcing a $1.4 billion notes issue, ANZ dropped 0.4 per cent to $25.30, Westpac fell 0.7 per cent to $26.45 and Commonwealth dropped 0.4 per cent to $80.34.

Suncorp Group rose 1.1 per cent to $13.33 after announcing that total lending was down 0.6 per cent in the September quarter.

Prospa Group plummeted 27.5 per cent to $2.80 after the small business lender said it would miss earnings forecasts as better quality borrowers were paying less in interest.

Diversified mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto rose but goldminers fell, dragging the sector lower.

BHP gained 0.2 per cent to $36.36 while Rio Tinto climbed 0.9 per cent to $94.35.

Goldminers Northern Star dropped 2.6 per cent, Evolution fell 2.3 per cent and Newcrest dropped 0.9 per cent.

Saracen Minerals was in a trading halt after it agreed to pay $1.1 billion for a "transformational" half stake in the Super Pit in Kalgoorlie, one of the biggest goldmines in Australia, an acquisition it plans to fund through a $796 million equity raising.

Galaxy Resources dropped 2.3 per cent to $1.055 after announcing it would cut production at its flagship Mt Cattlin lithium mine in Ravensthorpe, WA, as it tries to stay in business despite low prices for the crucial component in electric vehicle batteries.

Coronado Global Resources fell 7.9 per cent after announcing full-year earnings would be at the lower end of guidance as the benchmark price of the coking coal it produces had dropped further amid the uncertain global conditions.

Artificial intelligence company Appen helped prop up the tech sector as it climbed 13.4 per cent to $26.43 on an earnings upgrade.

The company makes datasets for training artificial intelligence algorithms and said it was making earning more from existing projects with existing customers.

Elsewhere in the sector Afterpay dropped 2.0 per cent, WiseTech Global fell 1.0 per cent and Xero was down 0.6 per cent.

Salary packaging company Smartgroup tumbled 13.7 per cent to $9.49 after announcing its longtime chief executive would retire in early 2020.

Broker upgrades helped boost Qantas, Aristocrat Leisure and Coca-Cola Amatil, with the airline rising 3.0 per cent, the gaming company gaining 1.9 per cent and the beverage giant climbing 4.9 per cent.

The Aussie dollar is buying 68.09 US cents, from 67.92 US cents on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 26.9 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 6,766.8 points

* The All Ordinaries closed down 27.2 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 6,871.7 points.

* The SPI200 futures index closed down 22 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 6,775.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 68.11 US cents, from 67.92 US cents on Friday

* 74.12 Japanese yen, from 73.75 yen

* 61.58 euro cents, from 61.61 cents

* 52.69 British pence, from 52.74 pence

* 106.44 NZ cents, from 106.38 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

  • Print this page
  • Copy Link