ASX 200 opens lower as Omicron keeps on jittering global markets

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ASX 200 opens lower as Omicron keeps on jittering global markets

 ASX 200 opens lower as Omicron keeps on jittering global markets
Image source: Peshkova,Shutterstock

Highlights

  • The ASX 200 fell 0.14% or 10.7 points to 7,372.9 in early trade.
  • The potential impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is also leading investors to take a cautious stance.
  • The IT sector is taking the biggest hit with a 1.66% fall.

The Australian share market opened the session on a negative note on Wednesday as IT stocks fell for the second consecutive session. The country's energy and gold stocks also spoiled the mood as they slid at the open due to weaker prices of their underlying commodities. The potential impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is also leading investors to take a cautious stance. The ASX 200 fell 0.14% or 10.7 points to 7,372.9 in early trade.

COVID-19 spread raising concerns of another wave of lockdowns

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The global stock market also took a beating on Tuesday, while the US dollar surged to a near one-week high as market participants took note of the rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and awaited numerous central bank meetings due this week.

All Wall Street indices, including the broader market index S&P 500 and tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite ended lower on Tuesday after revealed producer prices increased more than expected in November 2021, increasing expectations that the US Federal Reserve can announce a faster wind-down of asset purchases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session 0.3% lower at 35,544.18, while the S&P 500 fell 0.75% to 4,634.09. The NASDAQ Composite closed 1.14% lower at 15,237.64.

Read More: Three ASX healthcare penny stocks that more than doubled this year

How has the market performed so far?

As of 11:00 AM AEDT, the ASX 200 was trading 0.38% or 28.4 points lower at 7,350, while the ASX All Ordinaries index was trading 0.53% or 40.8 points down at 7,657.5. The A-VIX shot up by 3.13% to 12.52.

Top 5 ASX gainers and losers

Data Source: ASX (as of 15 December 2021, 11:00 AM AEDT)

Coming to the list of top losers, Evolution Mining Limited (ASX:EVN) and PointsBet Holdings Limited (ASX:PBH) topped the list, losing 4.11% and 4.06%, respectively. On the other hand, Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC) and Virgin Money UK PLC (ASX:VUK) were the top gainers, gaining 4.15% and 3.04%, respectively.

On the sectoral front, 10 out of the 11 sectors were trading lower, with the IT sector taking the biggest hit of 1.66%. The A-REITs and telecommunications sectors were down over 1% each. The financial space was barely in green, gaining 0.09%.  

Newsmakers

  1. Qube Holdings Limited (ASX:QUB)
  • Shares of the company have entered into a trading halt on the ASX.
  • It has also entered into a binding transaction with the LOGOS Property Group Consortium.
  • Under the transaction, Qube would be selling 100% of its interest in warehousing and property components of the MLP project.
  1. South32 Limited (ASX:S32)
  • Local miner South32 has refinanced its credit facility of US$1.4 billion to a new maturity term in 2026.
  • This sustainability-linked credit facility can also be extended for another two years.
  • This will provide South32 with continued access to substantial liquidity.
  1. Santos Limited (ASX:STO)
  • Credit rating agency, Moody’s assigned an investment-grade credit rating of Baa3 to Santos.
  • It adds to other investment-grade ratings to the company by m Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings.
  • Moody’s said the improved size and scale of the business following a merger with Oil Search has been a key factor for the ratings.
  1. Queensland Pacific Metals Limited (ASX:QPM)
  • The company has completed a AU$30-million share placement.
  • It has issued 187.5 million shares at an issue price of AU$0.16 per share.
  • The proceeds would be directed towards the creation of a battery materials production facility.
  1. Corporate Travel Management Limited (ASX:CTD)
  • The company would acquire Helloworld’s corporate travel segment, having an enterprise value of AU$175 million.
  • The company would be paying AU$100 million in cash and the remaining AU$75 million in CTD shares.
  • Helloworld’s corporate travel business clocked a normalised EBITDA of AU$22 million FY19.

Read More: Three ASX tech penny stocks with attractive dividend yields

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