The Australian share market softened in late trade to finish the day in the red but ended the week around one per cent stronger, as big resource players benefit from soaring oil prices and sustained strength in iron ore.
At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 2.5 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 6,116.2 points, with the miners strong, banks mixed and Telstra shares around one per cent firmer.
Morgans senior client adviser Bill Chatterton said BHP Billiton had benefited from the recent rise in global oil prices while a strong showing from iron ore had also boosted the resources giant and its rival, Rio Tinto.
Iron ore player Fortescue Metals closed up 1.9 per cent at $4.93 while Rio Tinto jumped 1.1 per cent to $83.88.
BHP Billiton gained 1.3 per cent to $33.16 and is at a near-four-year high on the back of gains since April.
The big four banks were between 0.6 and 0.9 per cent weaker, with the exception of ANZ, which added 0.3 per cent to $28.15
Telstra shares lifted one per cent to $3.20 after shedding 2.5 per cent on Thursday.
Mr Chatterton said interest is growing in Telstra’s 5G network roll out.
“Up until quite recently really I don’t think the market was focusing on that at all and it’s potentially quite a game changer,” Mr Chatterton said.
In companies news, REA Group shares hit an all time high of $89.16 before closing at $88.71, up 5.2 per cent, after the real estate listings specialist reported a 19 per cent increase in quarterly earnings, despite lower Australian listing volumes.
News Corp – REA’s majority owner – gained 0.8 per cent to $22.50 after it posted a third-quarter net loss of $US1.1 billion ($A1.46 billion), mainly due to revaluing of Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia.
Service station group Caltex jumped 1.9 per cent to $30.45 after reporting unaudited figures showed first quarter profit was $172 million, up from $161 million the same period a year ago.
GrainCorp lost one per cent to $7.74 after announcing dry weather in Queensland and northern NSW had slashed its harvest and shrivelled half year profit by almost two thirds.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is back above 75 US cents after the greenback moderated on the softer-than-expected US inflation numbers.
At 1700 AEST, the Australian dollar was trading at 75.38 US cents, from 74.69 US cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed down 2.5 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 6,116.2 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index closed down 0.5 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 6,216.4 points.
* The SPI200 futures contract was steady at 6,097 points
* National turnover was 1.3 billion securities traded worth $2.5 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.38 US cents, from 74.69 on Thursday
* 82.45 Japanese yen, from 82.08 yen
* 63.36 euro cents, from 62.94 euro cents
* 55.79 British pence, from 55.10 pence
* 108.20 NZ cents, from 107.86 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,319.07 per fine ounce, from $US1,312.21 per fine ounce on Thursday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 5.75 per cent May 2021, 2.1575pct, from 2.1615pct at Thursday’s close
* CGS 2.25pct May 2028, 2.7828pct, from 2.7738pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.205 (implying a yield of 2.795pct), from 97.21 (2.79pct) on Thursday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.80 (2.20pct), from 97.795 (2.205pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)