ASX 200 market wrap: top trades from the day

We examine some of the best and worst trades on the ASX 200 today, as well as the price action of oil and iron ore.

ASX 200: sector by sector performance

Though equities started the week on shaky ground – with the ASX 200 tumbling on coronavirus concerns – the blue-chip index has rebounded since then, and currently trades ahead of those early-week lows.

Today the ASX 200 rallied 30 points – or 0.39% – to close out the session at the 6976 mark.

The Information Technology sector was the best performing of the day, with the XIJ index up 2.1%.

The Materials sector was the next best performing – up 1% by the market close.

By comparison, Utilities (XUJ) was the worst performing sector today – with that index dropping 0.8% or 66 points by the end of trade.

Australia’s largest utilities stocks: APA Group and AGL Energy, both suffered modest share price losses today.

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Commodity prices in focus

Looking at the price action of commodities, we see that iron ore, oil (WTI & Brent) and rhodium all rose today.

Unsurprisingly, oil prices have struggled over the last week, as concerns over falling Chinese oil demand ripple through global markets.

And though oil has risen today, on Monday Bloomberg noted that: ‘China oil demand is said to have plunged 20% on virus lockdown.’

Tellingly, WTI Crude currently trades around the US$50 per barrel mark. Just a month ago by comparison, on 6 January, it traded at the ~US$60 per barrel mark.

Secondly, and looking at more in-depth commentary concerning the price movements of iron ore, yesterday, Metals Market Index (MMi) analysts commented that:

‘Heavy rainfall in Brazil continued to keep the iron ore shipments at low levels. DCE iron ore futures market continued falling though not as sharply. Mills and traders remain broadly out of the market, watching carefully.’

Trading close to US$80 per tonne – iron ore is now well off its mid-2019 highs.

In step with today’s modest rise in iron ore prices however, Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) – Australia's largest pure-play iron ore miner – saw its share price rise 0.45% today.

Best and worst performing ASX stocks

The top performing stocks on the ASX 200 today were Orocobre (ASX: ORE) +18.95%, Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) +11.29%, CIMIC (ASX: CIM) +9.80%, WiseTech (ASX: WTC) +8.98% and Nearmap (ASX: NEA) +7.44%.

By comparison to those top performing stocks, Resolute (ASX: RSG) declined 4.55%, Regis (ASX: RRL) fell 4.31%, and M Pharma (ASX: MYX) dropped 3.33% – making up the ASX 200’s worst performing equities for the day.

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