The Australian sharemarket fell deep into the red on the final trading session of the month, suffering its worst day in four weeks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 1.44 per cent lower at 7323.7, while the All Ordinaries Index fell 1.3 per cent to 7639.1.
CommSec analyst Steven Daghlian said it was the second straight day of declines, completely ignoring a positive lead from Wall Street overnight, with most of the major American indices up about 1 per cent.
Mid-session, the local bourse was on track to “get back into the winner’s column” for the month, but the slump kept going, dragging the market 0.12 per cent lower in October.
After close of trade on US markets, large caps Apple and Amazon reported quarterly results below expectation, which could have played a part in the ASX downturn, OMG chief executive Ivan Tchourilov said.
“The news wasn’t all bad today – we’re starting to see some economic growth post lockdowns in NSW,” he said.
“Retail sales there are up 2.3 per cent and have risen 1.3 per cent across all states and territories.
“The expectation is for even more growth for October, when Victoria’s lockdown ending will be accounted for and NSW really kicks into gear for the festive season.”
A top performing retailer was JB Hi-Fi, up 4.25 per cent at $50.49 after jumping 3.28 per cent on Thursday despite providing a September quarter sales update showing it went backwards compared to the previous corresponding period.
But that was when there was a massive spike in Covid-related shopping for technology and home appliances.
Fashion retailer Mosaic Brands, behind chains including Rockmans and Noni B, firmed 0.86 per cent to 59 cents despite reporting a 10 per cent dip in like-for-like September quarter sales due to forced store closures, but online growth hit a record.
Banks, which mostly recorded gains on Thursday, gave them back.
ANZ declined 1.6 per cent to $28.14, Commonwealth Bank slid 2.04 per cent to $104.68, National Australia Bank dropped 2.5 per cent to $28.71 and Westpac shed 2.14 per cent to $25.67.
Investment bank Macquarie Group went into a trading halt pending a $1.5bn capital raising.
“The purpose behind that raising is to help the company provide more flexibility in the event of new opportunities popping up, so it has the money ready to go,” Mr Daghlian said.
Macquarie also announced its profit for the half year ended September 30 had more than doubled compared to the prior corresponding period, as did its interim dividend.
Sleep disorder device company ResMed surged as high as $38.41 before closing 4.2 per cent stronger at $37.17 after posting its first quarter numbers showing a 20 per cent revenue surge.
“It said that was largely thanks to ongoing high demand for its sleep apnoea treatments, but other respiratory treatments have been in high demand as well,” Mr Daghlian said.
Plumbing products company Reece was another standout for a second straight day, rising 5.63 per cent to $19.89 after providing its quarterly update on Thursday showing a more than 13 per cent increase in sales revenue.
“That was led mainly by strong growth in its American operations,” Mr Daghlian said.
“Today, three brokers have become more optimistic about its prospects and that seems to be helping its shares lift.”
Crown Resorts reached a $125m settlement with shareholders in a Maurice Blackburn Lawyers-led class action claim over its 14 per cent share price tumble in 2016, following revelations staff were arrested in China for promoting illegal gambling.
It was a big day for the beleaguered casino operator, with biggest shareholder James Packer fronting the Perth royal commission, making the bombshell admission he did not attend a single board meeting as chair of Burswood Ltd between 2013 to 2016 after moving overseas – and should have either quit or attended them.
He also said he did not object to the forced sell down of his 37 per cent stake to less than 5 per cent, one of 33 recommendations by the separate Victorian royal commission, all of which were accepted by the state government.
Crown shares slid 1.48 per cent to $9.96.
A poor performer was meal kit delivery service Marley Spoon, which lost roughly one-third of its share value to $1.02 after downgrading its full-year net revenue growth guidance to 26-28 per cent, down from 30-35 per cent previously, due to volatile consumer behaviour.
Rio Tinto fell 2.66 per cent to $90.29 and BHP gave up 1.19 per cent to $36.58.
Lithium miner Pilbara Minerals rose 3.77 per cent to $2.20 a day after delivering its quarterly report showing record production of spodumene concentrate.
“Strong tailwinds pushed Pilbara Minerals into solid operational performance, delivering a record operating cash flow,” Mr Tchourilov said.
He said Zip was his company’s most purchased stock this week after losing ground, finishing 1.07 per cent softer at $6.50 on Friday.
“Renewed interest rate hike fears have turned some investors bearish on the buy-now-pay-later competitor,” Mr Tchourilov said.
The Aussie dollar was fetching 75.47 US cents, 54.7 British pence and 64.64 Euro cents in afternoon trade.
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