- The ASX 200 traded lower by 24 points or 0.32% at 7,408 by the lunch.
- Six of 11 sectors were in red, while tech and energy dropped the most.
- Investment fund Spark Infrastructure Group was the top performer with 5% gain.
Australian shares witnessed selling pressure on Wednesday, with the benchmark index, ASX 200, retreating from yesterday’s record high. The selling in blue chip miners Rio Tinto and BHP as well as tech and energy stocks dragged the market lower. The news of lockdown extension in Sydney also weighed on market sentiment.
The ASX 200 was trading lower by 24 points or 0.32% at 7,408 by the lunch. Early today, the index opened lower following weak cues from Wall Street in overnight trade.
On the sectoral front, six of the eleven sectors were trading in red zone. Information technology was the worst performer with 0.9% loss, followed by energy which tumbled 0.8%. Among others, telecom, financial, consumer discretionary and materials were also trading lower.
Bucking the trend, A-REIT was the best performer with over 1% gain. Some of the other sectors that witnessed buying includes utilities, industrials and consumer staples.
Moving on to the COVID-19 front, the state of New South Wales continued to report rise in locally acquired coronavirus cases. The case tally in the past 24 hours surged to 177 as compared to 172 infections reported on Tuesday. The death toll from the outbreak rose to 11 after a woman in her 90s died at Liverpool Hospital. The state government has announced a four-week extension of the Greater Sydney lockdown which will be applicable from midnight tonight. The curb will also apply to the Blue Mountains, Shellharbour, the Central Coast and Wollongong.
Top gainers and losers
Image Source: © Ptoone | Megapixl.com
Investment fund Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX: SKI) was top percentage gainer on ASX, up 5% by the lunch.
Some of the other notable gainers were English bank Virgin Money UK PLC (ASX:VUK), professional technical services provider ALS Ltd (ASX: ALQ) automotive retail group Eagers (ASX: APE) and IT firm WiseTech Global Limited (ASX:WTC).
On the flip side, miner Nickel Mines Limited (ASX:NIC) was top loser on ASX pack, falling 6.4%.
Some of the worst performers were online bookmaker PointsBet Holdings Limited (ASX: PBH), health care firm Polynovo Limited (ASX:PNV), gold miner St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) and mining explorer Orocobre Ltd (ASX:ORE).
Shares in news
Shares of Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX: SKI) were buoyant on the ASX in early trade on receiving revised takeover offer. The company said it has received third takeover bid at a price of AU$2.95 per security from Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board (OTPP) and KKR, on behalf of its affiliated infrastructure investment funds. The suitors had already offer two takeover proposals, including an initial offer of AU$2.63 per security and a subsequent revised proposal of AU$2.73.
The share price of iron ore mining giant BHP Group (ASX: BHP) dropped over 1% to AU$52.83 by noon. The company has made a bid to acquire a high-grade nickel project in Canada. The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, BHP Lonsdale, has made an all-cash offer to acquire Noront Resources for 55 Canadian cents per share.
Shares of global miner Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) was also down 1% at AU$131 after it committed fund for the Jadar lithium project. The company has proposed AU$2.4 billion funding for the Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia, one of the world’s largest greenfield lithium projects.
Shares of automotive retail group Eagers (ASX: APE) jumped 5% to AU$16.5 on a robust trading update. The company expects to report underlying operating profit before tax of AU$218.6 million for the six months ended 30 June 2021. The net profit before tax from continuing operations for the first six months of 2021 is expected to be AU$267.4 million.
The share price of Anteotech (ASX:ADO) rose over 2% on signing UK distribution agreement for EuGeni. The company shared today morning that it has signed a Distribution Agreement with Apacor Limited for the distribution of the EuGeni Reader platform and COVID Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test in the UK.
Pharmaceutical firm Acrux Limited (ASX:ACR) has updated that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its generic version of EMLA Cream. In June 2019, Acrux had submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) to get approval from the FDA to market its generic version of EMLA Cream.
Cashrewards Limited (ASX:CRW), the cashback reward program business, has provided its quarterly activities report for the June quarter. As per the company, business momentum continued as 99,864 new members were added, up 208% against the prior corresponding period (pcp). With this, the number of total members rose to 1.1 million, up 44% against pcp, above FY21 goal.