The ASX is set to drop on Wednesday. [Source: abc NEWS]
The Australian share market closed lower on Wednesday, after a sell-off on Wall Street amid a drop in consumer confidence and growing recession fears.
The benchmark ASX 200 index was down 0.9 per cent, to 6,700, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 1.1 per cent, to 6,877.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was down 0.3 per cent, to 68.85 US cents.
Origin Energy’s stocks were up 0.1 per cent, despite a court ordering the company to pay $17 million in penalties for breaching its hardship obligations on more than 100,000 occasions over four years until October last year.
It is the largest total penalty ever imposed for breaches of the national energy retail law and rules.
In company news, Star Entertainment has announced Tyro Payments boss Robbie Cooke as its new chief executive.
The casino operator made the announcement shortly after Tyro announced Mr Cooke’s resignation.
Star Entertainment said the appointment would “restore confidence in the organisation”.
Mr Cook will get a starting salary of $1.6 million and will also be up for a short term incentive of $960,000, and $1.6 million long term incentive.
He’ll also get $1.6 million in shares.
Tyro stocks lost 15.4 per cent on the news, while Star gained 3.3 per cent.
Carsales stocks tumbled 11.7 per cent after the auto-dealer announced it had raised $842 million to buy the remaining 51 per cent of US-based Trader Interactive.
Imugene, Silver Lake Resources and Regis Resources rounded out the worst-performing companies on the main index.
On the upside, stocks leading the gains included Liontown Resources, Aurizon Holdings, Skycity Entertainment and Aristocrat Leisure Limited.
Retail sales up
Australian retail turnover rose 0.9 per cent in May 2022, reaching another record level, according to the Retail Trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
It’s the fifth consecutive monthly rise in retail sales after rises of 0.9 per cent in April, 1.6 per cent in March, 1.8 per cent in February and 1.6 per cent in January, according to the ABS.
ABS Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Statistics Ben Dorber said there was growth across five of the six retail industries in May.
“Higher prices added to the growth in retail turnover in May. This was most evident in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services and food retailing,” Mr Dorber said.
Department stores had the largest rise, up 5.1 per cent, followed by cafes, restaurants, and takeaway food services (1.8 per cent), other retailing (1.5 per cent), food retailing (0.6 per cent) and household goods retailing (0.4 per cent).
Clothing, footwear, and personal accessory retailing was the only industry to record a fall, down 1.4 per cent, following three consecutive monthly rises.
New South Wales had the largest rise in retail sales, up 1.6 per cent, followed by 1.3 per cent in Victoria.
Retail turnover fell in Queensland (-0.4 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.3 per cent).
Wall Street set for biggest first-half drop since 1970
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 491.27 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 30,946.99. The S&P 500 lost 2 per cent, to 3,821, and the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3 per cent, to 11,181.
Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon were the heaviest drags on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.
The benchmark S&P 500 is on track for its biggest first half of the year percentage drop since 1970.
All three indexes are on course to notch two straight quarterly declines for the first time since 2015.
“At some point this aggressive selling is going to dissipate but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be anytime soon,” said Tim Ghriskey, senior portfolio strategist Ingalls & Snyder.
Investors were reacting to new US consumer confidence data, which showed the index dropped 4.5 points in a month to 98.7 — the lowest since February 2021.
Consumers’ assessment of current business and labour market conditions were little changed, but but their short-term outlook for income, business and labour market conditions were the weakest since March 2013.
“While the labour market remains in a very good position, areas of weakness are appearing in the economy – such as the property market – and perhaps consumer spending will be next,” OANDA senior market analyst Craig Erlam said.
“This would be a massive setback and potentially the strongest signal yet that the US is heading for a recession,” he said.
The Conference Board said the index suggested weaker growth in the second half of 2022 as well as a growing risk of recession by the end of the year.
“Consumers hate inflation and this is depressing consumer confidence via the expectation channel even as households see labour market conditions as strong,” said Conrad DeQuadros, senior economic advisor at Brean Capital.
Retail stocks tumbled on the data. Shares of Nike fell 7 per cent after the sportswear company posted weaker than expected guidance.
Spot gold was slightly down, selling for $US1,820.80 an ounce.
Oil prices fell in afternoon trade, Brent crude dropped 0.2 per cent, to be worth $US117.73 per barrel, while West Texas crude was down 0.1 per cent, to $US111.48 per barrel
In Europe, the pan-European STOXX 600 index gained (+0.2 per cent), along with Germany’s DAX (+0.3 per cent) and Britain’s FTSE (+0.9 per cent).