The share market has lost ground for a third straight session, weighed down by falls by the banks and concerns about a trade war.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 0.2 per cent to 5,920.8 points, following a fall of 0.7 per cent on Wednesday and a decline of 0.4 per cent on Tuesday.
Citi director of equities sales Karen Jorritsma said the financial services royal commission is reminding investors that good bank stocks still come with heavy regulatory risks.
“They have obviously got the noise of the royal commission in the background which leaves investors asking ‘why should I step up and buy them today?’,” she said.
ANZ, National Australia Bank and Commonwealth Bank were all one per cent weaker, and Westpac dropped 0.9 per cent.
Ms Jorritsma said investors were also influenced by a soft lead from Wall Street, where 10 out of 11 market sectors fell as US President Donald Trump considered fresh tariffs on goods from China, reviving anxiety of a global trade war.
“That made for a soggy entrance into the market this morning,” she said.
Gains among the big mining companies after a rise in iron ore prices were offset by a mixed day for the energy producers.
Rio Tinto climbed two per cent, BHP Billiton gained 0.8 per cent and Fortescue Metals added 0.6 per cent.
Woodside Petroleum dropped 0.5 per cent and Origin Energy shed 1.5 per cent, while Santos and Oil search turned around slow starts to gain 0.6 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively.
Newcrest Mining wavered throughout the session and closed 0.5 per cent lower, after the gold miner confirmed it will miss its full-year production guidance and some contracts for copper concentrate product will be unfulfilled because of the closure of its Cadia mine in NSW.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 14.5 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 5,920.8 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 15 points, or 0.25 per cent, at 6,027.6 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 17 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 5,911 points
* National turnover was 3.8 billion securities traded worth $7.3 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 78.68 US cents, from 78.75 US cents on Wednesday
* 83.35 Japanese yen, from 83.85 yen
* 63.59 euro cents, from 63.49 euro cents
* 56.31 British pence, from 56.35 pence
* 107.44 NZ cents, from 107.40 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,326.05 per fine ounce, from $US1,328.40 per fine ounce on Wednesday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9616pct, from 1.9856pct on Wednesday
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6624pct, from 2.7599pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.275 (implying a yield of 2.725pct), from 97.2375 (2.7625pct) on Wednesday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.89 (2.11pct), from 97.845 (2.155pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)