- The ASX 200 declined 0.9% by mid-session on Tuesday.
- Eight of the 11 sectors were in the red, barring energy, utilities and financials.
- The energy sector emerged as the biggest gainer as crude oil prices rose for a fifth straight day.
- Megaport and Pro Medicus topped the losers’ chart, while Beach Energy gained the most.
- Victoria’s daily case tally surged past that of NSW to 867 in the past 2 hours.
Australian shares were trading near day’s low by mid-session on Tuesday amid a broad-based sell-off. The renewed concerns about interest rate hike and mixed global cues spooked market sentiment. However, the continued rebound in commodity prices capped some of market losses.
The benchmark ASX 200 index fell 68.50 points or 0.93% to 7,315.70, by lunch. The index opened marginally lower today tracking muted cues from US Stocks which closed on mixed note in overnight trade. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones rose 0.21%, while the S&P 500 fell 0.28%. The NASDAQ Composite ended 0.52% lower.
Back home, on the sectoral front, eight of the 11 sectoral indices were trading in negative terrain. Healthcare was the worst performing sector with a 2.4% loss. The information technology space also witnessed a surge in selling, falling 2.3% in line with its US counterpart, NSADAQ Composite. A-REIT, consumer discretionary, industrial and material sector were also down over 1%.
Energy sector bucks bearish trend, extends rally
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Bucking the bearish trend, energy, utilities and financial were trading in the green zone. Energy emerged as top performer for the second day with a 3% gain as crude oil prices rose for a fifth straight day. Crude oil was up 1.8% to US$79.53 a barrel, its highest level since October 2018, triggered by supply disruption in the United States as well as rise in demand. Index heavyweights Woodside (ASX: WPL), Origin Energy (ASX: ORG), Oil Search (ASX: OSH), Beach Energy (ASX: BPT) and Santos (ASX: STO), were among the top gainers.
On the COVID-19 front, Victoria’s daily case tally surged past that of New South Wales (NSW) for the first time. NSW reported 863 new local coronavirus cases and seven deaths in the past 24 hours. Victoria continued to register a spike in daily cases, with fresh 867 infection on Tuesday.
Top gainers and losers
The top loser on the ASX was tech firm Megaport (ASX:MP1), falling 6.5% by lunch. Some of the other top laggards were healthcare firm Pro Medicus (ASX: PME), miner Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), iron ore miner Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) and property group Charter Hall (ASX:CHC).
On the gaining side, Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) topped the gainers’ list by rising nearly 8%. Some of the other top performers were fertilisers and chemical manufacturer Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL), shopping centre operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW), energy major Santos (ASX: STO) and coal miner Whitehaven Coal (ASX: WHC).
Shares in news
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Beach Energy surges on raising production target
Shares of Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) jumped nearly 8% after the oil producer unveiled a plan to increase production target. The energy major plans to raise its production to 28 million barrels of oil equivalent by financial year 2024.
Origin Energy rallies on spurt in value of Octopus Energy
Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) also saw its shares surge nearly 5% by lunchtime. The share price rose after the company said that the value of Octopus Energy had tripled to AU$5.5 billion after a new investor acquired 7% stake in the UK-based Octopus. Origin holds 20% stake in Octopus Energy.
Whitehaven Coal shares hit record high on coal price rise
Shares of Whitehaven Coal (ASX: WHC) climbed nearly 5% to hit its record high level since 2019, triggered by a surge in coal prices. The price of coal rose up to US$180 per tonne on Tuesday.
NRW Holdings shares rise on business update
Shares of NRW Holdings (ASX: NWH) were up 1.5% following a business update. The mining and construction services provider said that its subsidiary Primero Group, will oversee the construction of the Finniss Lithium Process Plant.
Telix Pharma falls despite receiving tax refund
Shares of healthcare company Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) traded marginally lower following an ASX update. The company informed its shareholders this morning that it has received a AU$12.1 million tax refund for its eligible research and development activities, which were undertaken by the Company in the year ended 31 December 2020.
Li-S Energy make debut on ASX
Leading lithium-sulphur battery technology developer Li-S Energy Limited (ASX:LIS) commenced trading on the ASX today after completing its public offering. The Company had received overwhelming response for its AU$34 million IPO. The capital raised will be primarily used to fund commercial scale-up of new technology and ongoing research and development work.