ASX falls again, down 1.2%

The local stock market has sunk to a near two-month low as last week’s roller coaster ride shows no signs of abating.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 85 points at 7,120.6, a loss of 1.2 percent.

The broader All Ordinaries index fell 109.7 points to 7,357.9, down 1.5 percent.

The ASX has now lost ground in five of its last six sessions and eight of its last 11, falling 6.4 percent in just over two weeks to hit its lowest level since March 15.

“Another bad day,” said Jessica Amir, Australian market strategist at Saxo Markets. “At least we didn’t finish at the low point of the day, which was nice, but things are pretty grim for the Australian market, as they are for the US market.”

That’s because earnings growth is slowing, China is enacting new COVID lockdowns and the US and Australian central banks are raising interest rates, Amir said.

All sectors except health care were in the red. Property trusts were the biggest losers, collectively falling 4.2 percent, as warehouse company Goodman Group fell 7.0 percent to a near-year low of $19.16.

Tech stocks as a whole fell 3.2 percent to their lowest level since June 2020 as rising interest rates make growth companies unattractive.

Xero fell 2.6 percent to a nearly two-year low of $84.34, while Wisetech Global fell 4.9 percent to a nine-month low of $39.33.

Airtasker, Booktopia, Tyro Payments, Betmakers Technology, EML Payments, Whispir, Redbubble, Domain, Bigtincan, Humm, Bike Exchange, Netwealth, Nuix, Pointsbet and Kogan.com were among the tech or tech-focused names that hit the new 52 weeks. or record lows on Monday, along with Inghams, Nine Entertainment, Star Entertainment, Harvey Norman, James Hardie, Judo Capital, Collins Foods, Breville, Marley Spoon and Aristocrat Leisure.

However, Westpac had a good day, up 2.4 to a six-month high of $24.41 after beating expectations with a 12 percent drop in first-half cash earnings to $3.1 billion.

Chief Executive Peter King said Australia’s oldest company was “managing the low rate environment and making the necessary changes to become a simpler and stronger bank”.

NAB and CBA staged an afternoon comeback to finish in the green, with NAB up 0.2 percent at $31.68 and CBA up 0.3 percent at $102.66. ANZ fell 2.7 percent to $26.03 as the bank went ex-dividend.

Magellan Financial Group fell 8.4 percent to $15.80 after announcing that it had sold its 11.6 percent stake in Mexican fast-food restaurant chain Guzmán y Gómez to Barrenjoey Capital for $140 million. a 36.3 percent premium over its asking price 16 months ago.

Blood products giant CSL rose 0.8 percent to $270.40.

The heavyweight mining sector fell 2.1 percent while Fortescue Metals fell 5.8 percent to a five-week low of $19.63.

Ms Amir said lockdowns in China had sent the price of iron ore to its lowest level since February.

“A big fall from grace, which means the big miners’ earnings prospects will be darker,” he said.

BHP fell 1.3 percent to $46.21, while Rio Tinto fell 2.3 percent to $106.80 and South32 was flat at $4.63.

Artificial intelligence chip tech company Brainchip Holdings rose for the third straight session, up 14.15 percent, to a two-month high of $1.21.

Brainchip, a favorite on the message boards, told ASX on Friday that he had no explanation for the recent rise in its shares.

Shares in AUB Group ground to a halt after the insurance company agreed to buy London-based international insurance broker Tysers for $880 million.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar had fallen to key support at just over 70 US cents, a level it last touched briefly in late January. It hasn’t fallen below that level since the start of the pandemic, in July 2020.

The Australian dollar was buying 70.09 US cents, from 70.70 US cents on Friday, and had also lost ground against the euro and yen.

Looking ahead, Australian consumer confidence figures will be released on Wednesday, and then that evening (Australian time), April inflation data for the US will be released.

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