The Australian share market has fallen away again at the end to close flat, as strong gains by miners and some energy companies offset losses among financial, property and consumer stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 0.04 per cent to close at 6,070.1 points on Friday, as gains in the energy, health and materials sectors were weighed down by weaker financials, consumer and real estate stocks.
CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian said a positive lead out of the US and two sessions of sharp losses on Wednesday and Thursday should have lifted the market but lighter volumes and uncommitted trading scuppered momentum at the close.
“We’re treading water at the moment and its shows a lack of enthusiasm, the fact that the last hour or two of trade the market gives back a lot of the improvements its recorded over the majority of the session,” Mr Daghlian said.
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto gained 2.2 per cent to $31.53 and 1.7 per cent to $80.62 respectively after iron ore spot markets rallied, hitting their highest level in more than 16 weeks and gaining nine per cent over the month.
BHP spinoff South 32 was up four per cent to $3.87.
The major lenders were weaker, with National Australia Bank flat at $29.53, while Westpac and Commonwealth Bank lost 0.4 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.
ANZ was down 21 cents, or 0.7 per cent to $28.52 after the bank finally walked away from a deal to sell its UDC Finance business to China’s HNA Group, after the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office said it would block the deal in December.
The price of oil has nudged a three-year high on the back of unexpected US production restraint, helping Woodside Petroleum gain 0.8 per cent to $34.48 and Oil Search 1.5 per cent to $7.97, while Santos lost 0.7 per cent and Origin Energy lost 0.4 per cent.
Beach Energy gained nine cents, or 6.9 per cent, to $1.395 following an after-market announcement on Thursday of a potential South Australian gas field discovery.
Explosives supplier Incitec Pivot lost 4.2 per cent to $3.70 after warning that the end of a contract with Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill iron ore mine will strip more than $80 million from its full-year profits over the next four years.
Michael Hill International shares were down 0.4 per cent to $1.235 following a flat performance in the jewellery chain’s Australian business and a sharp fall in its US sales.
Supermarket owners Wesfarmers and Woolworths were down one per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively.
JB Hi-Fi, up 13 per cent since November, has continued its Amazon-defying run, its shares gaining 37 cents, or 1.3 per cent to $28.36, following a JP Morgan analyst upgrade on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has given up some of the gains generated by Thursday’s better-than-expected retail trade figures for November.
The local currency was trading at 78.85 US cents at 1630 AEDT on Friday, up from 78.74 on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 2.5 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 6,070.1
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 0.6 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 6,176.8 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was up five points, or 0.08 per cent, at 6,018 points
* National turnover was 4.1 billion securities traded worth $5.2 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 78.79 US cents, from 78.74 on Thursday
* 87.65 Japanese yen, from 88.04 yen
* 65.42 euro cents, from 65.87 euro cents
* 58.17 British pence, from 58.33 pence
* 108.69 NZ cents, from 109.41 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,328.119 per fine ounce, from $US1,317.78 per fine ounce on Thursday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.026pct, from 2.0335pct
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6995pct, from 2.6814pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.245 (implying a yield of 2.755pct), from 97.265 (implying a yield of 2.735pct) on Thursday
* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.830 (2.170pct), from 97.825 (2.175pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)