ASX falls 0.45 pct ahead of RBA meeting

·4-min read

The local bourse has closed lower ahead of a big decision on interest rates, but several oil producers and coalminers hit their highest level in years as the war in Ukraine continues to wreak havoc on energy markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished on Monday down 32.5 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 7,206.3, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 39.3 points to 7,433.1, a drop of 0.53 per cent.

"I must say, it is very very quiet at this stage," said Tribeca Investment Partners portfolio manager Jun Bei Liu, who noted the market was refocusing after a period heavy in interim earnings announcements and annual general meetings.

Now attention is focused on the Reserve Bank of Australia's meeting on Tuesday, with most expecting the cash rate will be raised by at least 25 basis points, and possibly by 40 or 50.

"So the market's very light in volume, just waiting to hear more from the central bank's commentary," Ms Bei Liu told AAP.

Eight of the ASX's 11 sectors were down on Monday, but the energy sector climbed 2.1 per cent cent after Saudi Arabia raised oil prices for Asian customers in the face of increased demand.

Woodside Energy was up 3.2 per cent to a two-month high of $32.83 after Morgan Stanley gave a bullish endorsement to the new energy giant, raising its price target to $40.

Santos added 2.0 per cent to a two-year high of $8.57 and Beach Energy rose 1.4 per cent to a 14-month high of $1.845, while coalminer New Hope added 1.8 per cent and Whitehaven Coal gained 0.7 per cent to a three-year high of $5.45.

In the financial sector, Magellan had slid 13.9 per cent to an eight-year low of $12.85 after its funds under management dropped 5.3 per cent to $65 billion in a month.

In the past half-year, Magellan's funds under management has dropped 44 per cent, thanks in part to the loss of a mandate from British funds giant St. James's Place.

Elsewhere in the sector, all the big banks were down, with ANZ falling 0.8 per cent to $24.82, Westpac declining 0.3 per cent to $23.92 and CBA and NAB both down 0.5 per cent, to $104.68 and $31.11, respectively.

The tech sector was the biggest loser, falling 1.6 per cent, as Tyro Payments fell 8.4 per cent and Afterpay owner Block dropped 3.2 per cent.

The heavyweight mining sector was down 0.9 per cent as BHP fell 0.9 per cent to $46.34, Fortescue dipped 0.3 per cent to $21.40 and Rio TInto dropped 0.2 per cent to $115.77.

Goldminers Evolution and Northern Star were both down by slightly over two per cent, while lithium miner Allkem dropped 1.8 per cent and Pilbara Minerals fell 0.8 per cent.

Tabcorp was up 5.3 per cent after agreeing to pay Racing Queensland and the Queensland Government a total of $150 million to a settle a four-year-old legal dispute over betting taxes.

As part of the deal the Queensland government agreed to enact wagering tax reforms that Tabcorp said would level the playing field between it and online bookmakers.

Back in the energy sector, Cooper Energy gained 7.1 per cent to 29c after the mid-cap oil and gas producer announced it expects to earn $70 million to $78 million this year, up from the $57 million to $68 million previously forecast.

Processing rates at the Orbost gas plant in Victoria has improved and there's been "a substantial increase in actual and forecast wholesale spot prices for gas in Sydney and Victoria, in both cases beyond what had been expected".

The Australian dollar meanwhile was buying 72.06 US cents, from 72.56 US cents at Friday's close.

ON THE ASX:

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Monday down 22.4 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 7,206.3

The All Ordinaries index closed down 39.3 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 7,433.1

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

72.06 US cents, from 72.56 US cents when the ASX closed on Friday

94.07 Japanese yen, from 94.28 yen

67.11 Euro cents, from 67.50 cents

57.52 British pence, from 57.71 pence

110.62 NZ cents, from 110.72 cents

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