ASX slips from record heights

Shares have pulled back from record highs on the Australian market and a lockdown extension in NSW won’t help the short-term.

The major categories of materials, financials and healthcare were all lower at 1200 AEST in a slight easing of trade.

Technology shares fared worst, down 1.31 per cent.

Millions of people in NSW received news that their coronavirus lockdown, which began in June, will extend to August 28.

South Australians and Victorians however have more freedom after stay-at-home orders were relaxed.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was lower by 33.5 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 7397.9.

The All Ordinaries was down 36.2 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 7667.8.

Shares headed lower soon after trading began following losses on Wall Street overnight.

Investors were cautious prior to major technology companies giving earnings reports. These were issued after markets closed.

Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft, and Apple all reported record quarterly earnings.

In Australia, the annual rate of inflation has soared to 3.8 per cent following a jump in fuel prices.

The rate is well above the Reserve Bank of Australia’s two to three per cent target.

However board members have said they expect the spike to be temporary.

On the ASX, Spark Infrastructure shares were climbing after a US consortium improved its offer.

The consortium is offering about $2.88 per stapled security.

The Spark board said it was in security holders’ interest for the company to continue discussions with the consortium.

Shares were up 5.57 per cent to $2.74.

Sleep apnoea specialist Resmed had its shares hit new heights.

They traded for a record $36.00.

They had since eased to be higher by 2.12 per cent to $35.54.

Rio Tinto is increasing its efforts to produce lithium batteries for electric cars.

The miner has set aside $2.4 billion for the Jadar lithium project in Serbia.

Rio aims to start production in 2026 of materials including borates, used in solar panels and wind turbines.

Shares were down 0.82 per cent to $131.37.

BHP’s investment arm has made a $350 million offer for Canadian miner Noront.

Noront has nickel, copper, platinum and palladium deposits in Ontario.

BHP made the offer on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

After record highs on Tuesday, BHP shares were down 1.44 per cent to $52.59.

The other major miner, Fortescue, dropped 0.81 per cent to $25.61.

The Seven Group’s off-market takeover of Boral has helped it claim 61 per cent ownership.

The Boral board has pleaded with shareholders not to accept Seven’s offer and says it undervalues the company.

Boral shares were little changed at $7.40.

In banking, the big four were all lower.

The Commonwealth was the only one to lose more than one per cent. Shares last traded at $99.63.

The Australian dollar was buying 73.65 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 73.63 US cents at Tuesday’s close.

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