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Afternoon update: ASX down 0.8%, SQM buys Azure Minerals

Australian shares have fallen 0.8 per cent after Wall Street fell on mixed profit reports from Microsoft and Alphabet.

Alphabet’s stock price dropped significantly by 9.5 per cent due to struggles in its cloud business. In contrast, Microsoft saw a 3.1 per cent increase in its stock price. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, reported improved earnings for the third quarter, driven by higher advertising revenue and reduced expenses resulting from employee layoffs.

The SPI futures are down 54 points.

The best-performing sector is Utilities, up 0.38 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 3.24 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is IDP Education (ASX:IEL), trading 5.21 per cent higher at $22.29. It is followed by shares in Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) and Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY).

The worst-performing large cap is Allkem (ASX:AKE), trading 4.64 per cent lower at $10.07. It is followed by shares in REA Group (ASX:REA) and Ampol (ASX:ALD).

Westpac has fallen 0.9 per cent due to a projected $173 million loss. Pilbara Minerals fell 1.7 per cent as its revenue declined by 42 per cent in the September quarter. Coles dipped 0.2 per cent despite increased supermarket sales. JB Hi-Fi reported a 1 per cent drop in sales growth. Fortescue Metals’ stock edged down 0.5 per cent due to decreased iron ore shipments. Azure Minerals surged by 43 per cent after agreeing to a $1.63 billion buyout by Chile’s SQM.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 2.13 per cent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.94 per cent.
China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 2.43 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,993.80 an ounce.
Light crude is trading $0.17 lower at US$85.22 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 63.08 US cents.

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