Australian sharemarket closes lower after fears of inflation growth in China
On the Sydney Futures Exchange, the March share price index futures contract was down seven points at 4812 points on volume of 29,958 contracts, according to preliminary calculations.
Labour data for February showed that the unemployment rate rose to 5.3 per cent, from a downwardly revised 5.2 per cent in January.
CMC Markets market analyst David Taylor said it was expected the unemployment rate might stall for a short while before falling again, and the February jobs data had little effect on the sharemarket.
Mr Taylor said "the real issue'' today was China's inflation figure, which came in higher than expected at 2.7 per cent.
"The (Chinese) economy is probably growing a little faster than expected,'' Mr Taylor said.
"We know from past experience that they (Chinese officials) don't mess about with inflation.''
Mr Taylor said local investors seemed uneasy about further monetary tightening being implemented in China in an attempt to restrain inflation.
Putting the brakes on the Chinese economy could temper demand for resources from Australia.
"I think the shift of investors into defensive plays today is reflective of a bit of nervousness around that,'' Mr Taylor said.
In the resources sector on the local bourse, global miner BHP Billiton was down 23 cents to $43.01 and Rio Tinto was up 20 cents to $75.55.
Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum eased 22 cents to $45.27 and Santos shed three cents to $13.87.
Cooper Energy was off 1.5 cents at 49.5 cents after it said flooding in the Cooper Basin was likely to affect its South Australian operations as roads were cut and oil fields isolated.
Among the major banks, National Australia Bank sagged five cents to $26.75, Westpac retreated 33 cents to $27.00, Commonwealth Bank added 11 cents to $55.80 and ANZ found 12 cents at $24.06.
On Wall Street overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index lifted 2.95 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 10,567.33 points.
In the gold sector, Lihir was eight cents lower at $2.90 and Newcrest was down 28 cents to $33.90.
The price of gold at 4.20pm AEDT was $US1107.80 per fine ounce, down $US18.55 on yesterday's closing price of $US1126.35.
Among retail stocks, Myer Holdings slipped three cents to $3.44 after it downgraded its full-year sales growth target.
Woolworths was 16 cents richer at $28.36 and Wesfarmers, which owns Coles, ascended six cents to $32.29.
Telco Telstra was up eight cents to $3.07.
In the media sector, News Corp was four cents weaker at $18.26 and its non-voting stock lifted eight cents to $15.58.
Consolidated Media was steady at $3.19 and Fairfax gained 1.5 cents to $1.755.
Among other stocks, internet service provider iiNet nudged up one cent to $2.24 after it said it was in talks with rival Netspace about a takeover.
Centro Retail Group was 0.5 cents lower at 16.5 cents after it appointed Robert Tsenin as chief executive.
Online wagering and gaming firm Centrebet International was down seven cents to $1.70 after it said it first became aware of takeover proposals in February but only told the market this week for reasons of confidentiality.
The top-traded stock by volume was information technology firm Mooter Media, with 160.5 million shares worth $3.13 million changing hands. Mooter was 0.2 cents higher at 1.9 cents.
Preliminary national turnover was 2.42 billion shares worth $4.83 billion, with 494 stocks up, 546 down and 382 unchanged.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.