- The ASX 200 was down 0.35% by mid-session on Monday.
- The index declined 1.3% in opening trade on concerns about omicron COVID-19 variant.
- Barring tech and mining, all sectors were flashing in red.
- Travel and property stocks were among the worst-hit.
- Unibail, Vicinity Centres, EML Payments, Webjet, Scentre were among top losers.
Australian shares continued to trade lower by the mid-session on Monday, albeit paring more than half of early losses, supported by gains in tech and mining stocks. The ASX 200 benchmark index dropped as much as 1.3% in the first hour of the trade today as investors sentiments were rattled by the outbreak of a more infectious omicron coronavirus variant. Reversing early losses, the ASX 200 index was currently down by 25.20 points or 0.35% to 7,254.10 by mid-session trade.
The emergence of the new COVID-19 variant reignited the fear of a fresh lockdown and could derail the global economic recovery. Travel stocks were among the worst-hit amid fears of travel restrictions, with Flight Centre, Webjet and Qantas leading the fall. Travel stocks witnessed a sharp sell-off as fresh restrictions in some parts of Europe have dampened the outlook for booming global travel.
ASX 200 trims losses; Unibail, EML Payments, Webjet lead fall
The equity market witnessed broad-based selling, with nine of the 11 sectors floating in negative terrain. The A-REIT sector was the biggest lower with a 1.2% loss, followed by financial, which fell around 1%. Energy, industrials, telecom, and consumer staples were also reeling under selling pressure with marginal losses.
Bucking the bearish trend, the information technology sector was flashing in green with more than a 1% gain. The gain in the tech sector was driven by index heavyweights such as Afterpay, Xero, and Technology One.
Top gainers and losers by mid-session
The worst performing stock on the ASX pack was real estate business Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW), which dropped 5.8% by afternoon trade. Some of the other top laggards were property management firm Vicinity Centres (ASX: VCX), fintech company EML Payments (ASX:EML), digital travel business Webjet (ASX:WEB), and property business Scentre Group (ASX:SCG).
On the gaining side, software business Technology One (ASX:TNE) topped the chart by rising 4.6%. Some of the other notable gainers were pizza chain operator Domino's Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP), health care firm Ansell (ASX:ANN), automotive retailer Bapcor (ASX:BAP), and diversified financial business HUB24 (ASX:HUB).
Shares in news
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Shares of Senex Energy (ASX: SXY) tumbled 2.5% after it extended its exclusivity period to Posco International. The energy major has agreed to grant a two-week extension to Posco, which intends to acquire a 100% stake in Senex.
Shares of Rural Funds Group (ASX: RFF) dropped 0.3% following cattle and cropping property acquisition. The agricultural Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) has purchased 27,879 hectares of cattle and cropping property in central Queensland for about AU$69 million.
Vulcan Energy Resources (ASX: VUL) climbed 3.2% after it inked a lithium supply agreement with Stellantis. As per the deal, the billion-dollar Zero-carbon lithium aspirant will supply a minimum of 81,000 tonnes and a maximum of 99,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium hydroxide to Stellantis.
Shares of upmarket department store Myer (ASX: MYR) traded flat after it secured a four-year funding package. The company has signed a binding agreement with J.P. Morgan and Gordon Brothers to refinance its existing credit facilities.
Software and services company FirstWave Cloud Technology (ASX:FCT) has proposed to take over the IT solution provider Opmantek. Following the announcement, shares of FCT dropped nearly 8%.
Agro-based firm Wide Open Agriculture (ASX:WOA) announced today that it had got commitments from investors to raise AU$20 million via a single tranche placement. Boosted by the development, shares of the company jumped nearly 8%.