ASX new year enthusiasm wanes, shares slip

·3-min read

Investors tempered their new year enthusiasm and lowered the ASX on the second day of 2022 trade as the latest wave of coronavirus infections dominated the economic agenda in many countries.

Market pundits mostly sold shares in technology, healthcare and consumer goods after similar moves overseas and a lower US Nasdaq.

Technology shares were the least popular on the ASX and lost almost three per cent.

Afterpay and Appen fared even worse. Each shed a little more than four per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 24 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 7565.8 points on Wednesday.

The All Ordinaries index closed lower by 27.2 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 7899.6 points.

The losses follow a gain of almost two per cent on Tuesday.

IG Markets analyst Kyle Rodda said investors were attracted to higher bond yields, which had an adverse effect on growth stocks such as technology.

Mr Rodda was not too concerned by the enthusiasm for bonds.

"When it comes comes to the real economy, that's not such a bad thing," he said.

"The higher yields and steeper yield curve reflect great optimism about the future, amid recent fears about tighter monetary policy and record COVID-19 cases."

Investors on Thursday will resume musing about future US Federal Reserve decisions when the central bank publishes minutes from its December meeting.

The Federal Reserve will quicken the pace at which it is pulling back support for the economy and most expect multiple rate hikes this year.

In Australia, soaring coronavirus infections have hospitals and major employers calling for help as more staff are forced to stop work and isolate.

On the ASX, market giant CSL was not spared in the selling. Its shares lost 1.82 per cent to $290.60.

Energy shares were the best performers. They gained 0.82 per cent a day after OPEC decided to raise oil supply next month and overlook coronavirus infections.

However, data showing rising fuel stockpiles in the United States may suggest travel demand is slowing.

Santos was one of the best major energy stocks and added 2.57 per cent to $6.78.

Not all technology providers had a bad day.

Shares in human resources technology provider Xref rocketed following second-quarter trading figures.

The shares closed up 10.45 per cent to 74 cents after sales in the period jumped 71 per cent on the same quarter last year.

Chief executive Lee-Martin Seymour said new business demand was unprecedented.

Financials gained about half a per cent and each of the big four banks rose by less than one per cent.

Macquarie Group climbed about two per cent to $215.73.

Among the miners, the big three each gained less than one per cent. Rio Tinto fared best and gained 0.79 per cent to $100.48.

Cancer drug developer Noxopharm had attention from investors after its chief medical officer took the chief executive role.

Dr Gisela Mautner will take the top job from February, having been at Noxopharm for three years.

Current boss and major shareholder Dr Graham Kelly will remain on the board.

Shares were up 6.1 per cent to 43 cents.

Building repairs group Johns Lyng completed share sales which raised about $230 million.

The company also completed buying Reconstruction Holdings.

Shares fell about half a per cent to $8.84.

The Australian dollar was buying 72.26 US cents at 1715 AEDT, higher from 72.15 US cents at Tuesday's close.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 24 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 7565.8 points on Wednesday.

* The All Ordinaries index closed lower by 27.2 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 7899.6 points.

* At 1715 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was unchanged at 7481 points.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.26 US cents, from 72.15 cents on Tuesday

* 83.83 Japanese yen, from 83.46 yen

* 63.97 Euro cents, from 63.80 cents

* 53.41 British pence, from 53.55 pence

* 106.25 NZ cents, from 106.14 cents.

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