ASX falls for second straight day

An extremely volatile session on Wall Street, which hammered tech stocks, rubbed off on Australia’s sector, helping send the ASX lower.

The Australian sharemarket fell for the second straight day after another negative lead from Wall Street, where tech stocks were hammered, rubbing off on our local stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished 0.74 per cent lower at 6710.8 while the All Ordinaries Index slumped 0.82 per cent to 6943.

However, the ASX200 still managed to finish the week 0.56 per cent higher, according to CommSec.

OpenMarkets Group chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said Friday’s fall followed an extremely volatile session on US markets overnight, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq was “almost technically in correction territory” as investors became very edgy about rising interest rates.

He said the ASX200 had endured a fairly lacklustre week, with tech stocks – particularly the buy-now-pay-later sector – hit the hardest.

BNPL market leader Afterpay dipped 2.47 per cent to $115.40 while smaller rival Zip Co sank 5.25 per cent to $9.56.

Software company Wisetech retreated 1.93 per cent to $26.94 and online business platform provider Xero gave up 2.36 per cent to $113.17, a day after announcing it was acquiring workforce management tool Planday.

CommSec analyst Steve Daghlian said the negative Nasdaq rub-off came after US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell tried to reassure the market that interest rates would be kept low for a long period of time.

“It didn’t seem to be enough to actually stop the significant movements we’ve had in bond prices just recently,” Mr Daghlian said.

He said a rare bright spot on the local bourse was the energy sector after the oil price lifted by 4.2 per cent overnight following a meeting of oil producing nations, which surprisingly agreed to keep their output targets steady into next month.

“The market was actually convinced they would lift output,” Mr Daghlian said.

Santos rose 4.72 per cent to $7.76, Oil Search appreciated 4.99 per cent to $4.42 and Woodside Petroleum gained 3.12 per cent to $25.46.

Despite the iron ore price firming to its best level in about nine-and-a-half years, BHP dropped 2.17 per cent to $48.23, Rio Tinto weakened 3.28 per cent to $117.68 and Fortescue softened 0.67 per cent to $22.10. All three went ex-dividend this week.

Fruit and vegetables grower Costa Group announced the acquisition of KW Orchards’ citrus farm and an associated packing operation, both within NSW’s Sunraysia region.

“This acquisition complements Costa’s existing assets and will generate synergies,” Citi said, but the company’s shares eased 1.09 per cent to $4.55.

The West Australian government announced the planned independent inquiry into Crown Resorts’ Perth casino had been elevated to a royal commission in the wake of the damning Bergin inquiry findings.

Shares in the gaming giant were up one cent at $9.97.

ANZ added 1.59 per cent to $28.84 after chief executive Shayne Elliott warned in a radio broadcast that surging house prices could fuel an interest rate rise sooner rather than later if they kept climbing above inflation.

Commonwealth Bank inched up 0.08 per cent to $86.45, National Australia Bank found 0.3 per cent to $26.39 and Westpac was 0.12 per cent higher at $24.87.

The Aussie dollar was fetching 77.15 US cents, 55.49 British pence and 64.47 Euro cents in afternoon trade.

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