September 1, 2023

ASX set to drop as Wall Street scuffles to close out sorry August

By Millie Muroi
Updated September 1, 2023 — 5.52pmfirst published at 5.29am
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Welcome to your five-minute recap of the trading day, and how experts saw it.

The numbers

The Australian sharemarket slumped on Friday as one of the country’s biggest iron ore companies saw another senior executive walk, and healthcare companies, utilities and real estate investment trusts drifted lower following a negative lead from Wall Street overnight.

Wall Street has had a sorry August.Credit: AP

The S&P/ASX 200 was down 27 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 7278.3 at the close, even as the energy sector rallied.

The lifters

Energy (up 1.6 per cent) was the strongest sector on the local bourse as heavyweights Woodside and Santos gained 1.6 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively and coal miners Whitehaven and Yancoal added 3.9 per cent and 4.5 per cent each.


Auckland International Airport (up 3.1 per cent), explosives and fertiliser manufacturer Incitec Pivot (up 2.7 per cent) and Boral (up 2.1 per cent) were among the biggest large-cap advancers.

The communication services sector (up 0.02 per cent) was buoyed by Telstra which climbed 0.3 per cent and which gained 0.4 per cent.


The laggards

Shares in Fortescue (down 5.3 per cent) dived after Fortescue Metals said chief financial officer Christine Morris was leaving the company on Thursday, and Fortescue Future Industries director Guy Debelle said he was leaving its board.

Also on the losing end, lithium miner Liontown (down 3.7 per cent) and gold miners Evolution (down 2.2 per cent) and Northern Star (down 1.5 per cent) weighed the broader mining sector which shed 0.4 per cent. Iron ore heavyweight BHP slipped 0.3 per cent, further dragging down the sector.

Healthcare companies (down 1.4 per cent) were also weaker as Resmed (down 2.8 per cent), CSL (down 1.6 per cent) and Cochlear (down 1.1 per cent) declined.

Meanwhile, REITS (down 0.9 per cent) were also lower as Goodman Group (down 1.4 per cent), Charter Hall (down 2 per cent) and LendLease (down 0.5 per cent) dropped.

The lowdown

Jessica Amir, a market strategist at trading platform Moomoo, said the Australian sharemarket had a soggy start to September.

“September is traditionally the worst month for equities because it’s when dividends are paid out,” she said.

“But there was also another big executive walk out from the fourth-biggest iron ore company in the world.”


Amir said following the resignation of the senior executives, investors had to think about what was going on.

“It has a lot to do with who we make most money from, and that’s China,” she said.

“Fortescue Metals makes almost 90 per cent of its money from China, and almost 100 per cent [of its] revenue from iron ore, so this many executives leaving one of the world’s largest mining companies begs the question of what the outlook is like for commodities and China.”

Tweet of the day

Quote of the day

“We think the penalties in consumer law cases have not been high enough. If a corporate giant is told to pay $100 million, it is seen as the cost of doing business,” said Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb, with the consumer watchdog saying Qantas should pay a penalty of hundreds of million of dollars if it is found to have breached consumer law.

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With AP

The Market Recap newsletter is a wrap of the day’s trading. Get it each weekday afternoon.

Millie Muroi is a business reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald covering banks.Connect via Twitter or email.


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