ASX slips 0.37 per cent, most sectors down

Shares were lower on the Australian market early as US Democrats moved to impeach President Donald Trump, while Brisbane residents were told their coronavirus lockdown will end tonight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 25.1 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 6732.8 at 1200 AEDT on Monday.

The All Ordinaries was down 27.7 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 6996.5.

Materials and industrials had losses of about 0.8 per cent, but information technology had the biggest loss, 2.18 per cent.

The ASX fall comes despite Wall Street closing higher on Friday, following expectations of more stimulus from a Democrat-controlled US Congress.

However there remains a chance of more turmoil in the US after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday said the House will proceed to try and impeach Trump.

Pelosi called Trump a threat to democracy after he incited rioters to storm the Capitol building in Washington last week.

Trump is to leave office on January 20.

Meanwhile Brisbane residents were happy to hear a three-day coronavirus lockdown will end at 6pm on Monday as planned.

They have been largely confined to their homes since a cleaner at a quarantine hotel was diagnosed with a highly infectious strain last week.

On the ASX, energy was the best performing sector after oil prices rose by eight per cent last week.

The rise came after Saudi Arabia pledged to cut output.

Woodside Petroleum was up 4.63 per cent to $25.92, Santos gained 3.93 per cent to $7.25.

Gold prices fell on Monday as the US dollar strengthened and US Treasury yields remained elevated, denting the metal’s appeal.

Spot gold was down 0.4 per cent to $US1842.07.

Gold miners suffered as a result. Evolution lost 5.44 per cent to $4.69, and Newcrest shed 3.95 per cent to $26.20.

Buy now pay later provider Splitit surged by 8.88 per cent to $1.15 after the service was chosen to offer customers payment instalments on the Japanese Google Store.

Customers will be able to use the service to buy Google’s 5G phone and split payments into monthly instalments.

Splitit chief executive Brad Paterson said the deal was one of the company’s strongest case studies.

The big miners were mixed. BHP rose 0.25 per cent to $46.79, Fortescue lost 0.23 per cent to $25.28 and Rio Tinto declined by 0.89 per cent to $12.29.

In banking, Westpac was the only one of the big four banks to gain. It rose 0.09 per cent to $20.30.

ANZ lost 0.12 per cent to $23.81, the Commonwealth shed 0.28 per cent to $85.38 and NAB slipped by 0.34 per cent to $23.27.

The Aussie dollar was buying 77.21 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 77.71 US cents at the close of trade on Friday.

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