ASX ends day lower as US Senate runoffs prompt tumble in futures

ASX ends lower as US Senate vote unfolds
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ASX ends day lower as US Senate runoffs prompt tumble in futures

The Australian share market has ended Wednesday’s trading day lower as the US Senate election run-offs spark ongoing jitters.

The S&P/ASX 200 index went down 75 points, or 1.1 per cent lower to 6607.1, while the broader All Ordinaries tumbled 74 points, or 1.1 per cent to an index position of 6881.4.

At the close, the Australian dollar was buying 77.68 US cents and gold was trading at a spot price of $US1946.04 per ounce.

Most ASX sectors followed the tumbles felt in US index futures, which sank following ongoing uncertainty regarding the Senate run-offs in the state of Georgia.

CommSec analyst Steven Daghlian said the outcome of the results will be the primary market influencer over the coming days.

“The results could dictate or determine the balance of power in the US Senate. That then can have an impact on the sorts of policies Joe Biden gets across the line in coming years and that could impact shares and currencies,” he said.

The Energy sector was the standout performer and was largely influenced by a sharp rise of nearly 5 per cent in oil prices which was triggered after Saudi Arabia confirmed it would cut production by one million barrels a day in both February and March.

Axi chief market strategist Stephen Innes said the result following the OPEC+ meeting still alluded to ongoing demand uncertainty for the price of oil into the coming year.

“One of the biggest concern is the risk that OPEC+ cohesion frays as the outlook improves especially if Shale Producer welcome Saudi Arabia new year gift with open arms and start pumping aggressively again,” Mr Innes said in an investor note.

“Indeed this is still a real risk for later in the year that will push back on some of those $60 Brent Targets.”

Following the announcement by the larger oil producer, Brent crude oil prices at one point rose 5 per cent to $US53.63 a barrel.

Oil Search experienced the largest daily rise, jumping 5.7 per cent to $3.89 per share, followed by IGO which saw its share price surge 4.4 per cent to $7.05 each at the close.

Stock in Nanosonics incurred the largest decline, falling 7.1 per cent to $7.47 each, while market darling Afterpay weighed down the tech sector by finishing the trading day down 4.5 per cent to $113.6 per share.

Major miners also ended the day lower with Rio Tinto falling 1.7 per cent to $115.75, while rival BHP fell 0.2 per cent $44.21 per share and Fortescue Metal dropped 0.6 per cent to $25.05 per share.

Major banks also weighed on market performance and all ended in the red. Commonwealth Bank shares closed 0.4 per cent lower to $82.9 per share, while ANZ shares dropped 0.8 per cent to $22.78 per share.

Westpac finished the session down 0.8 per cent to $19.37 per share and stock in NAB fell 1.2 per cent to $22.41 per share.

Qantas fell 0.6 per cent to $4.81 per share, while Telstra saw its share price tumble 1 per cent to $3.01 each.

Wesfarmers closed 1.5 per cent lower to $50.49 per share and Woolworths ended the session down 1.3 per cent to $39.65 per share.

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