Wall Street edges higher, ASX set to retreat

The Australian sharemarket retreated on Tuesday, as energy companies and safe haven stocks dropped, even as Wall Street drifted higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 fell 35.3 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7,346.2 at the open, as all sectors except real estate traded in the red.

Wall Street has made a nervy start to the week.

Wall Street has made a nervy start to the week. Credit: Bloomberg

Healthcare companies (down 0.8 per cent) were among the hardest hit, as Ramsay Health Care (down 2.6 per cent) and Pro Medicus (down 2.3 per cent) led the large-cap decliners. Consumer staples (down 0.7 per cent) also fell, with supermarket giants Woolworths (down 1 per cent) and Coles (down 0.8 per cent) both winding back. Gold miners Northern Star (down 1.6 per cent) and Evolution Mining (down 1.3 per cent) followed the gold price which dropped 0.5 per cent overnight.

The energy sector (down 1.3 per cent) was the heaviest weight on the index, as Woodside (down 1.9 per cent), Santos (down 1.5 per cent) and Ampol (down 1.5 per cent) declined after brent crude oil prices fell 2 per cent. It also comes after Macquarie said Woodside and Santos could face a tax hit from the Labor government’s proposed changes to the petroleum resource rent tax.

Lithium companies, including Pilbara Minerals (up 3.8 per cent), Allkem (up 1.3 per cent) and Liontown (up 0.7 per cent), surged. Medical equipment supplier EBOS group bucked the trend among health companies, adding 1 per cent. Real estate (up 0.3 per cent) was the only sector in the green as Goodman Group (up 0.3 per cent) and Mirvac (up 1.6 per cent) both gained.


Meanwhile, Wall Street drifted higher Monday to kick off the first full week of earnings reporting season.

The S&P 500 rose 0.3 per cent in its first trading after squeezing out its fourth winning week in the last five. The Dow Jones gained 0.3 per cent while the Nasdaq composite climbed 0.3 per cent. All three swayed between small gains and losses in quiet trading before ending near their highs for the day.

Several financial companies reported a mixed set of profit reports for the first three months of the year. They followed up on a bevy of better-than-expected reports from JPMorgan Chase and other big US banks that marked the unofficial start of reporting season late last week.

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