The ASX suffered its biggest daily tumble in four months after Wall Street fell sharply overnight, with few stocks in the green.
The ASX suffered its biggest daily tumble in four months after Wall Street fell sharply overnight, with few stocks in the green.

Market suffers biggest fall in four months

The Australian sharemarket fell sharply in line with heavy declines on Wall Street overnight, suffering its biggest daily tumble in four months, with tech stocks among the losers.

The S&P/ASX200 finished 1.93 per cent lower at 6649.7 while the All Ordinaries Index dropped 2.02 per cent to 6917.6.

Axi chief global market strategist Stephen Innes said concern about "horrifyingly discouraging" snail's pace COVID-19 vaccine rollouts and the US stimulus debate were big factors weighing on Wall Street.

CommSec analyst Tom Piotrowski said the ASX slump was not surprising given the negative US lead and recent rallies on both markets.

"At its worst level, the ASX200 was down by almost 2.8 per cent, at which point it was the worst decline that we've seen for the local sharemarket since September of last year," Mr Piotrowski said.

"And that kind of marries up with what we saw on Wall Street last night - the Dow was down at its worst extent since October last year.

 

"I still think there's a lot of value in looking at this in the bigger picture in terms of where these markets have come from over the course of the last three months.

"These sorts of moves for the moment could well be considered the process of consolidation."

In the tech sector, buy-now-pay-later market leader Afterpay, which last week hit a record high, declined 6.19 per cent to $136.97.

Smaller rivals Openpay plunged 11.72 per cent to $2.56 despite reporting a 58 per cent jump in December quarter revenue, Zip Co dropped 5.93 per cent to $7.30 and Sezzle retreated 3.84 per cent to $8.27.

Among healthcare stocks, biotech giant CSL gave up 3.02 per cent to $266.90, sleep disorder device company ResMed slid 4.06 per cent to $27.42 ahead of the release of its second quarter results and hearing device pioneer Cochlear was down 2.95 per cent at $195.60.

 

Fortescue fell 4 per cent to $22.73 after reporting iron ore shipments of 46.4 million tonnes in the December quarter contributed to record shipments for the half year of 90.7Mt.

Ord Minnett said the miner's operating performance remained strong and was ahead of the broker's forecasts on achieved price, costs of production and shipments, but higher than expected net debt may disappoint some investors.

Shares in Newcrest dipped 2.84 per cent to $25.33 despite Australia's biggest gold miner reporting a 6 per cent increase in quarterly production.

RBC Capital Markets said Newcrest provided investors with a strong exposure to the precious metal and its shares appeared inexpensive, giving the company a $31 price target.

RBC says Newcrest appears cheap but is ‘currently hindered by asset concentration’ with its Cadia and Lihir operations in NSW and PNG, respectively, accounting for much of its earnings. Picture: LGL Gold/AAP
RBC says Newcrest appears cheap but is ‘currently hindered by asset concentration’ with its Cadia and Lihir operations in NSW and PNG, respectively, accounting for much of its earnings. Picture: LGL Gold/AAP

Rio Tinto weakened 2.86 per cent to $113.70 and BHP erased 1.71 per cent to $44.28.

ANZ backtracked 1.34 per cent to $24.22, Commonwealth Bank retreated 1.69 per cent to $85.14, National Australia Bank dropped 1.24 per cent to $23.92, Westpac eased 0.92 per cent to $21.46 and Bank of Queensland lost 2.27 per cent to $8.18.

Among the few winners, infant milk formula manufacturer Bubs Australia soared 23.14 per cent to 74.5 cents after reporting a revenue rebound in the December quarter, although it was still 12 per cent lower than the same period in 2019 due to the plunge in Chinese 'daigou' sales.

The company said the pandemic continued to disrupt its global sales channels but exports to markets outside of China had rocketed, up 194 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

The Aussie dollar was fetching 75.3 US cents, 55.78 British pence and 63.05 Euro cents in afternoon trade.

Originally published as Market suffers biggest fall in 4 months


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