- The ASX 200 ended 0.8% lower, led by a sharp fall in metal and energy stocks.
- The index closed the week on a flat note amidst volatile trade.
- Mining heavyweights BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue have dropped amid slump in iron ore prices.
- Asian markets traded mixed on subdued global cues.
- Bitcoin, Ether, Cardano and other cryptos traded lower.
Australian shares closed sharply lower on Friday as sharp reversal in iron ore prices hammered the share price of mining heavyweights BHP Group (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue (ASX:FMG). Adding to the woes, the fall in gold price also weighed on resource companies. The consistent rise in COVID-19 cases and subdued cues from global peers also dented market sentiment.
The benchmark index, ASX 200, ended 56.50 points or 0.76% lower at 7,403.70, led by material and energy stocks. Early today, the index opened lower and declined as much as 1% to hit a low of 7,383.10, crossing below its 50-day moving average. Overall, the ASX 200 ended the week on a flat note as gains in energy and A-REIT stocks were offset by losses in material and consumer staples companies.
Image source: Lin Xiu Xiu, Shutterstock.com
New listings Way2VAT (ASX: W2V) and SSH Group (ASX: SSH) made strong debut on the ASX today. The Israel-based small-cap financial technology company Way2VAT surged 57% on the first day of the trading. The Israeli tech firm raised AU$7 million by issuing 35 million shares via its IPO. The shares were issued at an offer price of 20 cents apiece.
Meanwhile, safety, security, staffing, and equipment solutions provider SSH Group (ASX: SSH) also rallied over 30% on day one. The company has raised AU$6.25 million at 20 cents a share in its public offering.
On the sectoral front, six of 11 sectors ended in negative terrain. The material sector was the worst performer with a 4.3% loss, owing to a sharp fall in iron ore prices. In overnight trade, iron ore extended its fall, sliding by a further 8.1% to US$107.21 per tonne. Analysts from UBS have cut their price forecasts for iron ore and now expect the commodity to fall below US$100 a tonne before the end of this year, instead of in 2022.
Materials was followed by the energy sector, which fell 1.3%, owing to a fall in crude oil prices. Among others, utilities, financial, consumer staples and A-REIT also witnessed a surge in selling activities.
Bucking the trend, information technology emerged as the top performer with a 2% gain, tracking firm cues from the US counterpart NASDAQ Composite. The health care, consumer discretionary and industrial sectors also ended marginally lower.
Top gainers and losers
The top loser on the ASX was iron miners Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG), which plunged 11.3%. Some of the other worst performers were financial software business Iress (ASX: IRE), coal miner Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), resource companies Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) and Iluka Resources (ASX: ILU).
Meanwhile, online retailer Redbubble (ASX: RBL) topped the gainers’ chart by rising 6.5%. Some of the other top performers were corporate bookmaker PointsBet Holdings (ASX: PBH), child care operator G8 Education Limited (ASX: GEM), property group Ingenia Communities (ASX: INA) and real estate investment trust Shopping Centres Australasia (ASX:SCP).
Asian shares trade mixed on muted global cues
Image source: © Thomaspajot | Megapixl.com
Shares in the Asia-Pacific region were trading on a mixed note, tracking muted cues from Wall Street. While markets in China and Indonesia fall, Japan and Hong Kong edged higher.
The Nikkei 225 index in Japan was the best performer in the regional market with a 0.5% gain. It was trading near record high last seen in 1990 amid optimism over fresh stimulus from a new Prime Minister.
Japan’s Nikkei was followed by Taiwan’s Weighted Index, which was trading 0.4% higher. In a similar trend, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4%, while South Korea’s KOSPI gained 0.2%.
In mainland China, the Shanghai composite fell nearly 0.7%, while the Shenzhen component tumbled over 1%. Thailand’s SET Composite dropped over 0.6%, Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite slipped 0.2%, and the Straits Times in Singapore dropped 0.1%.
Meanwhile, Wall Street ended mixed in overnight trade as a drop in energy and tech stocks offset cheer over robust retail sales. The Dow Jones fell 0.2%, the S&P 500 slipped 0.15%, while the NASDAQ Composite gained 0.1%. US Retail sales rose 0.7% last month, while weekly jobless claims dropped marginally during the week ended September 11.
Bitoin, Ether, Cardano trade in red
Image source: Coyz0, Shutterstock
Major cryptocurrencies were trading in the red on Friday, amid anti-government protests in El Salvador against the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender. Last week, the Central American nation, led by President Nayib Bukele, officially adopted Bitcoin as legal currency alongside the US dollar. According to a Reuters report, the country’s Court of Accounts, which oversees its public resources, will investigate a complaint about the government's Bitcoin purchases and the construction of kiosks for cryptocurrency ATMs.
Reacting to the news, the price of Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency by market cap, dropped 0.5% to US$48,000. The most popular currency rallied over 3% on Thursday after America’s largest movie theatre chain AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. announced to accept Bitcoin for online ticket and concession payments. The company’s CEO, Adam Aron, said in a tweet that AMC Theatres will accept cryptocurrency by year-end 2021.
Ether, the world’s second largest crypto, was down over 2% to US$3,560, reversing previous session gains. The coin has surged over 3% in the last seven days.
Meanwhile, the price of Cardano, the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap, slipped over 2%, while Dogecoin rose 1.8%.
Other virtual currencies such as Tether, Binance coin, Litecoin, XRP, Stellar, Solana, and Uniswap were also trading in the red.