The Weekend Australian

ASX falls as tech stress hits

- REBECCA LE MAY

The Australian sharemarke­t fell for the second straight day on Friday after another negative lead from Wall Street, where tech stocks were hammered, rubbing off on local stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.74 per cent lower at 6710.8 points, while the All Ordinaries slumped 0.82 per cent to 6943.

However, the ASX 200 still managed to finish the week 0.56 per cent higher, according to CommSec.

OpenMarket­s chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said Friday’s fall followed an extremely volatile session on US markets, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq “almost technicall­y in correction territory” as investors became edgy about rising interest rates.

He said the ASX 200 had endured a lacklustre week, with tech stocks — particular­ly the “buy now, pay later” sector — hit the hardest.

BNPL market leader Afterpay fell 2.47 per cent to $115.40 while smaller rival Zip Co sank 5.25 per cent to $9.56.

Software company WiseTech retreated 1.93 per cent to $26.94 and online business platform provider Xero gave up 2.36 per cent to $113.17, a day after announcing it was acquiring workforce management tool Planday.

CommSec analyst Steve Daghlian said the negative Nasdaq rub-off came after US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell tried to reassure the market that interest rates would be kept low for a long period of time.

“It didn’t seem to be enough to actually stop the significan­t movements we’ve had in bond prices recently,” Mr Daghlian said.

He said a rare bright spot on the local bourse was the energy sector after the oil price lifted by 4.2 per cent following a meeting of oil-producing nations that surprising­ly agreed to keep their output targets steady into next month.

Santos rose 4.72 per cent to $7.76, Oil Search gained 4.99 per cent to $4.42 and Woodside was up 3.12 per cent at $25.46.

Despite the iron ore price rising to its highest level in about 9½ years, BHP fell 2.17 per cent to $48.23, Rio Tinto lost 3.28 per cent to $117.68 and Fortescue fell 0.67 per cent to $22.10. All three went ex-dividend this week.

The West Australian government announced the planned independen­t inquiry into Crown Resorts’ Perth casino had been elevated to a royal commission in the wake of the damning Bergin inquiry findings. Shares in the gaming giant rose 1 cent to $9.97.

ANZ added 1.59 per cent to $28.84 after CEO Shayne Elliott warned that surging house prices could fuel an interest rate rise sooner rather than later.

Commonweal­th Bank inched up 0.08 per cent to $86.45, National Australia Bank rose 0.3 per cent to $26.39 and Westpac was 0.12 per cent higher at $24.87.

The dollar was fetching US77.15c in afternoon trade.

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