Markets wrap: Mega miners and technology firms drag ASX to eight-month low
Investors were left licking their wounds on Monday as a rolling equities rout spilt into a new week, dragging the Australian sharemarket to eight-month lows.
Mining and technology stocks were hit hard as Friday’s brutal Wall Street decline cast a pall over local markets, extending what has been a volatile run for traders so far in 2022.
The benchmark ASX 200 dipped another 1.2 per cent early on Monday before clawing back ground, eventually closing 36.4 points, or 0.5 per cent, lower at 7139.5.
A nadir of 7086.8 during the session was the market’s lowest level since May last year, yet another unwanted bookmark in a dramatic three-week nosedive.
That said, some analysts were looking at a tentative improvement in US futures as a reason to hope for temporary relief.
“Asian stocks have generally moved lower today, but there might be signs of a tentative bounce in risk with US futures generally higher,” wrote IG Markets analyst Kye Rodda.
The broader All Ordinaries, meanwhile, fell 48.6 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 7441.5, while the Aussie dollar was slightly lower at 71.78 US cents at the local close.
Australian stocks have fallen by more than 4 per cent so far as investors the world over baulk at the prospect of soaring inflation, and the likelihood of market-sapping rate hikes needed to keep it in check.
US markets have been savaged in recent weeks and remain under pressure on policy uncertainty as traders position for what Mr Rodda called “a very hawkish Fed” in 2022.
Mr Rodda said while markets were technically oversold, participants were likely still on Fed-watch and likely waiting for Thursday morning’s meeting of the US Federal Reserve for clues as to their next move.
Despite the late-morning improvement, there was little joy at the top end of the ASX on Monday.
The iron ore giants headlined a miserable session for materials stocks, even after an improvement in bulk metal prices.
BHP dropped 0.2 per cent to $45.60 and Rio Tinto finished 0.7 per cent lower at $107.96.
Fortescue Metals fell 2 per cent to $20.52, having announced the purchase of batteries suppliers Williams Advanced Engineering for more than $300 million.
The mining titans were joined in the red by most of the banks – although Commonwealth Bank eked out a narrow gain – while fellow blue-chips Telstra, Wesfarmers, and CSL also drooped.
Afterpay owner Block Inc led technology names lower with a 3.6 per cent decline to $166.25, while Xero, Appen, Altium, Nuix, and Nearmap also sagged.
Aristocrat Leisure lost 1.1 per cent to $41.05 with investors appearing less than enthusiastic to approve the group’s purchase of UK sports betting group Playtech for $5.3 billion.
A rare patch of green came via the supermarkets, with Coles finishing 1.2 per cent higher at $16.33 and rival Woolworths up 0.8 per cent to $35.02.
Elsewhere, shed giant Goodman Group gained 3.5 per cent to $23.43 while real estate portal REA Group bounced 2.9 per cent to $151.02.
Originally published as Markets wrap: Mega miners and technology firms drag ASX to eight-month low
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