Aust shares slip as tech, health drag

Shares have dropped in early trading on the Australian market after US indices ended mixed in a late turn overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 41.9 points, or 0.68 per cent, at 6114.4 points after the first 15 minutes of trade on Wednesday.

The All Ordinaries index was 41.5 points, or 0.66 per cent lower, at 6227.3.

The energy sector was the standout performer, up 1.77 per cent after crude oil prices gained on hopes of stimulus in major economies. The heavyweight financial sector was also better off by 0.14 per cent.

But that was offset by heavy losses in the technology sector, down 2.35 per cent, health, which dropped 2.11 per cent, and materials falling 1.15 per cent.

Overnight, US markets markets rallied on news of the European Union reaching agreement on a massive $US857 billion coronavirus recovery fund, which boosted hopes for similar stimulus measures in Washington to sustain economic recovery.

But the march upward lost steam late in the session, amid a drop in technology shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.6 per cent higher, the S&P 500 gained 0.17 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.81 per cent.

The Australian dollar surged as risk appetite returned on stimulus hopes globally. It was trading at 71.38 US cents at 1015 AEST, sharply higher from 70.38 US cents at Tuesday’s close.

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