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ASX 3.88pc loss is worst week since April

Steven Deare
·3-min read

Australia's share market had its worst week since April, and one investment analyst has warned more trouble looms if the US election result next week takes time to unfold.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index finished down 32.7 points, or 0.55 per cent, to its session low of 5927.6 on Friday.

The All Ordinaries closed lower by 34.8 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 6133.2.

The indices started higher from a Wall Street rebound, yet dropped after 1130 AEDT.

Deep Data Analytics chief executive Mathan Somasundaram linked the timing of the drop to Asian markets opening and global investors responding to US tech giants' results.

Apple, Amazon and Alphabet filed mixed results after trade closed in the US.

The ASX's information technology sector had the biggest drop, 2.03 per cent.

The ASX200 dropped 3.88 per cent this week. Investors were troubled by soaring coronavirus infection rates across the US and Europe.

However the index was better by 1.92 per cent over the month.

How the US presidential election outcome affects trade is anyone's guess.

"One thing you know for sure is it's going to be messy," Mr Somasundaram said.

He said investors wanted certainty and warned they could be paralysed with indecision if the result took days or weeks to become clear.

Oil and gas giant BP will close its 65-year-old Kwinana refinery in Western Australia, leaving hundreds of employees out of work.

The British multinational says regional oversupply and low margins mean the refinery, south of Perth, is no longer viable.

On the ASX, AMP shares were best of the big companies and gained 19.53 per cent to $1.53 after it received an acquisition offer from US investment group Ares Management Corporation.

AMP told the market that Ares had offered to buy all shares, but talks were preliminary and a sale was no certainty.

In banking, Westpac chief executive Peter King has had a two-year term removed from his contract and said he is committed to a multi-year plan to turn the bank around.

Shares ended lower by 0.22 per cent to $17.91.

Among other banks, ANZ was up 0.59 per cent to $18.81, the Commonwealth added 1.29 per cent to $69.02 and NAB finished even at $18.60.

Bendigo Bank climbed 1.98 per cent to $6.69 while Bank of Queensland was up 2.07 per cent to $6.42.

In health, ResMed said its first quarter sales were up 10 per cent to $US751.9 million as the company made ventilators and masks to overcome COVID-19.

Net operating profit increased 27 per cent.

The company will pay a quarterly dividend of 39 US cents per share.

Shares were up 9.45 per cent to $27.92.

Among the miners, BHP shed 0.68 per cent to $33.78, Rio Tinto was up 1.62 per cent to $92.43 and Fortescue gained 4.51 per cent to $17.37.

Next week, events likely to affect investors include the Reserve Bank rate decision on Tuesday. Economists expect a rate cut to 0.1 per cent.

US election results will be issued from Wednesday, while the RBA will give its statement on monetary policy on Friday.

The Aussie dollar was buying 70.23 US cents at 1722 AEDT, lower from 70.62 US cents at the close of trade on Thursday.

ON THE ASX

* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index finished down 32.7 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 5927.6 on Friday.

* The All Ordinaries closed lower by 34.8 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 6133.2.

* At 1722 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was lower by 32 points, or 0.54 per cent, to 5858.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 70.23 US cents, from 70.71 US cents on Thursday

* 73.18 Japanese yen, from 73.82 yen

* 60.11 Euro cents, from 60.17 cents

* 54.41 British pence, from 54.31 pence

* 106.20 NZ cents, from 106.27 cents.