Australian stock markets: Border closures hurt shares

The Australian stock market closed lower on Monday as state border closures with Victoria sparked fear of a second wave that could damage the country’s economic rebound.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index finished down 43.3 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 6014.6 points. Meanwhile, the All Ordinaries index was clipped of 37.8 points, or 0.61 per cent, to close the day at 6125.9 points

Monday’s slight market slump comes off the back of a Deloitte Access Economics report, which flagged economic growth would contract by 3 per cent in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown.

The Australian dollar finished the session higher at US69.71 cents, fuelling concerns of intervention by the Reserve Bank to artificially lower the currency’s value.

Head of FX research at ANZ, Daniel Been, said a rapid appreciation of the dollar would invoke policy concern with the RBA, if the currency hiked to more than US70 cents.

Medical technology company Mesoblast experienced the largest share price surge, closing trading up 11.3 per cent to 38 cents per share.

Bega Cheese suffered the largest loss, falling 6.43 per cent to $4.66 per share.

Major bank shares made little movement throughout the day. Commonwealth Bank closed at $71.42, down 0.2 per cent, while Westpac stock was down by 0.49 per cent to $18.45 per share.

NAB stock also fell by 0.2 per cent to finish the session at $18.70 per share and ANZ ended the day down 0.37 per cent to $19.12 each.

The energy and material sectors also suffered declines, with shares in Rio Tinto falling 0.98 per cent to $95.45 each. BHP closed the day down 1.68 per cent to $35.65 per share, while Woodside Petroleum stock decreased by 0.32 per cent to 21.58.

Refreshed lockdowns on travel also impacted the share price performance of Qantas, which ended the trading day down 0.79 per cent to $3.79 per share.

Woolworths pulled back by 0.5 per cent to $37.58 per share, Wesfarmers also lost ground with its shares slumping by 0.39 per cent to $45.93 each.

Originally published as Border closures hurt share market

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