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Aust shares finish down, losses limited

Steven Deare
·4-min read

Australia's share market has slipped late to close fractionally lower in what one analyst says is probably a good result given recent activity.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed lower by 12.6 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 5952.3 points on Monday.

The index was mostly lower for the first two hours of trade and reached a session low of 5941 points. It later rose to a high of 5977.3 and traded higher for most of the last four hours.

The All Ordinaries index finished down by 5.6 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 6134.9.

Consumer staples had the biggest fall, 2.18 per cent, while financials and materials were down less than one per cent.

Information technology had the greatest gain of 1.87 per cent.

ThinkMarkets analyst Carl Capolingua said it was a very boring day.

"But that's not necessarily a bad thing, given how crazy markets have been in recent weeks with volatility," he said.

The ASX finished last week 1.71 per cent higher, not long after investors endured four consecutive weeks of losses.

Mr Capolingua identified travel and buy now, pay later stocks as the best performers in the session.

Travel stocks received a boost after the federal government said the October 6 budget would include financial support for airlines to keep key domestic and regional routes running amid an industry slump from the coronavirus.

In addition, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham indicated arrangements allowing travel between Australia and New Zealand could be in place before the end of the year.

Webjet finished higher by 6.56 per cent to $3.90, Qantas was up 6.44 per cent to $4.13 and regional airline Rex jumped by 6.75 per cent to $1.26.

In the buy now, pay later space, Afterpay gained 5.07 per cent to $79.80.

Also on Monday, several virus restrictions were eased in Melbourne, including the nightly curfew, although residents must contend with other restrictions continuing.

Among the major market movers, the banks, ANZ was down 1.28 per cent to $17.70, the Commonwealth was lower by 0.97 per cent to $65.49, NAB declined by 0.82 per cent to $18.22 and Westpac fell by 1.14 per cent to $17.38.

In mining, BHP was down 1.25 per cent to $37.13, Rio dropped 1.48 per cent to $96.55 and Fortescue was down by 0.31 per cent to $15.86.

Financial software provider Iress increased its offer for superannuation provider OneVue from 40 cents per share to 43 cents.

Iress shares finished higher by 1.05 per cent to $9.63.

OneVue has asked shareholders to vote for the deal. They are due to vote on October 9. Its shares finished higher by 4.46 per cent to 41 cents.

Corporate Travel Management entered a trading halt as it said it planned a capital raising and an acquisition. Its shares last traded for $16.16.

A2 Milk warned it was fielding fewer orders from its corporate Chinese reseller channel due to the coronavirus restrictions in Melbourne. Its shares finished down 10.78 per cent to $15.31.

Synlait Milk reported full-year net profit after tax fell nine per cent to $NZ75.2 million. It shares finished down 7.61 per cent to $5.22.

Entertainment group Ardent Leisure received a $3.6 million fine for its failure to prevent mechanical faults that caused the deaths of four people on a Dreamworld ride in 2016.

The company had flagged a hefty fine to investors and shares finished higher by 2.02 per cent to 50.5 cents.

US markets closed higher on Friday due to technology stocks.

The Australian dollar was buying 70.48 US cents at 1726 AEST, lower from 70.60 US cents after the close of trade on Friday.

ON THE ASX

* The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed lower by 12.6 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 5952.3 points

* The All Ordinaries index finished down by 5.6 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 6134.9

* At 1726 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was trading lower by 5 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 5939

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 70.48 US cents, from 70.77 US cents on Friday

* 74.28 Japanese yen, from 74.59 yen

* 60.61 Euro cents, from 60.65 cents

* 55.14 British pence, from 55.33 pence

* 107.54 NZ cents, from 107.47 cents