Leaders to outline recovery, ASX dips

·4-min read

Leaders of Australia's biggest companies will forecast their fortunes in a post-lockdown economy after a listless start to the week on the ASX.

The domestic economy improved a little on Monday as NSW residents rushed to shops, cafes and pubs, freed from the harshest coronavirus rules.

People in the ACT and Victoria will soon follow, helping trade, travel and jobs across many businesses.

Investors will look to CSL and Telstra on Tuesday for indications of how quickly the returned freedoms will help earnings. The annual general meetings are on the same day.

On Wednesday, the Commonwealth Bank's Matt Comyn will likely outline how the changed virus situation may benefit shareholders.

The market was not so optimistic at the start of the week, although this was mostly due to a poor US lead.

Miners and energy providers helped limit losses after commodity prices surged.

Fortescue Metals jumped by more than five per cent as Chinese workers returned from a week's holiday and resumed demand for iron ore.

The miner's renewables arm said it will in February start building its green energy manufacturing centre in Queensland.

Technology shares fared worst on the ASX and lost more than two per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed lower by 20.3 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 7299.8.

The All Ordinaries closed down 16.2 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 7601.1.

In the US, investors will be looking to September inflation figures this week after a poor jobs report on Friday.

Casino group Star Entertainment has denied claims it unwittingly allowed money laundering and fraud.

The operator of casinos in Queensland and Sydney on Monday responded to Nine media reports which alleged criminals were benefiting from lax anti-money laundering controls.

Star said the reports were misleading, although it could not publicly discuss individuals.

Shares were down more than 22 per cent to $3.30.

Insurers claim they may benefit from a court decision on whether they must pay businesses' claims of losses due to the pandemic.

The Federal Court gave judgement on a second test case on Friday.

Insurance giant IAG said the court found in favour of insurers on some questions and customers on others.

IAG shares were up 3.08 per cent to $5.35.

Rival insurer Suncorp improved by 0.63 per cent to $12.77.

The Fair Work Ombudsman began court action against the Commonwealth Bank for missed payments which date to 2010.

The bank discovered the errors in 2018 and has been paying affected current and former staff since.

Shares were up 0.23 per cent to $104.69.

The big four banks were all better by less than half a per cent.

BHP and Rio Tinto also benefited from the higher iron ore price. BHP gained 0.9 per cent. Rio Tinto improved by 1.85 per cent.

Takeover target Australian Pharmaceutical Industries had good and bad news.

The Priceline pharmacy owner raised its full-year profit forecast for the 12 months to August 31 to $70 million.

Meanwhile, Priceline franchisees have filed a class action in Victoria's Supreme Court.

Shares were up 0.66 per cent to $1.51.

Ampol looks like having its takeover offer for New Zealand fuel supplier Z Energy accepted.

The latter's board has approved Ampol's bid to pay $NZ3.78 for each share on the New Zealand stock exchange.

Ampol shares were up 2.85 per cent to $30.00.

The Australian dollar was buying 73.34 US cents at 1725 AEDT, higher from 73.00 US cents at Friday's close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed lower by 20.3 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 7299.8.

* The All Ordinaries closed down 16.2 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 7601.1.

* At 1725 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was lower by 21 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 7243 points.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.34 US cents, from 73.00 cents on Friday

* 82.62 Japanese yen, from 81.66 yen

* 63.32 Euro cents, from 63.18 cents

* 53.69 British pence, from 53.66 pence

* 105.70 NZ cents, from 105.35 cents.

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