Australian shares closed lower on Wednesday, with weaker underlying prices dragging mining and energy stocks down, but extended gains for a second consecutive month having finished the earnings-heavy month of August slightly up.
The S&P/ASX 200 index settled 0.2% lower at 6,986.8. The benchmark rose 0.6% in August.
Business results and profit forecasts for Australian companies during the season showed a divide, with big miners expecting higher profits on soaring commodities prices, while supermarkets, banks and manufacturers suffer from inflation and stagnant wages.
On Wednesday, Asian markets extended a global equity selloff, as investor worries about aggressive monetary tightening were inflamed further by strong US jobs data.
“Australian equities would appear to remain bearish in the near future as high, steady rates could significantly squeeze the economy, adding to household & business stress, resulting in a prolonged period of negative investor sentiment,” said Azeem Sheriff, markets analyst at CMC Markets.
“On Wednesday, weaker commodity/base metal prices from overnight trading flowed through to the materials and energy sectors,” he added. Energy stocks led the decline, falling 2.9% in their worst session since July 6.
Woodside Energy fell 4.5%, recording its worst session in eight weeks.
Mining stocks also slipped, tracking weaker iron ore prices, with Fortescue Metals Group and BHP Group both falling 2.8% each.
Meanwhile, gambling firm PointsBet Holdings closed 11.9% lower and topped losses on the ASX 200 after the company reported that its loss for the year had widened. Technology stocks rose 1.4% and helped trim some losses.
Buy now, pay later firm Zip Co Ltd surged 11.7%, recording its best session since August 2.
Financials were also up, jumping 1.1% in their best session in six weeks.
Travel firm Webjet closed 8% higher after it announced a rebound in travel bookings and provided an upbeat outlook.
New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4% to finish at 11,601.1.
The index rose 0.9% in August.