Australian shares have closed weaker as mining and banking stocks lost ground, despite the energy sector and vaccines giant CSL giving the local market a shot in the arm.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 6.9 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 6,087.4 on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 6.3 points, or 0.1 per cent at 6,190.9 points.
The S&P/ASX200 dropped almost 29 points over the week but CommSec chief market analyst Steven Daghlian said it was the first sustained market pullback since the end of March.
“We have fallen about half a per cent this week, which isn’t a huge loss in particular when you consider that big banks went ex-dividend,” he said.
“It was always going to be a bit hard for the market to continue at the sort of pace that we have seen in the last month and a half.”
CSL was the star stock, closing 4.1 per cent higher at $182.95 and injecting more than 10 points into the market.
The vaccines and blood products company’s stock jumped after announcing the northern hemisphere flu season helped it boost full year profit guidance by 28 per cent, to between $US1.68 billion and $US1.71 billion on a constant currency basis.
All but one of the three of the four major banks retreated, with Westpac falling 0.9 per cent to $28.85, the Commonwealth Bank shedding 0.9 one per cent to $70.50 and National Australia Bank losing 0.7 per cent to $27.42.
ANZ closed 0.6 per cent firmer at $28.17, after announcing it will sell its majority stake in a Cambodian bank as it continues to divest assets in Asia.
A weaker iron ore price impacted the major miners, with BHP Billiton down 1.1 per cent to $34.08 and Rio Tinto falling 1.1 per cent to $85.81, while a declining gold price pushed Newcrest Mining down 1.9 per cent to $20.72.
The energy sector generally had a positive day of trade as oil prices remain around three-and-a-half-year highs.
Origin Energy, the nation’s largest gas and power retailer, jumped 3.3 per cent to $10.10 and Woodside Petroleum inched ahead 0.06 per cent to $34.31.
Santos was up 0.8 per cent to $6.25, the day after US private equity firm Harbour Energy lodged a binding takeover proposal that did not increase the offer value of US10.4 billion.
In companies news, Myer gained 4.7 per cent to 45 cents despite the retailer’s biggest stakeholder Solomon Lew warning shareholders to brace themselves for yet another company profit downgrade and loss.
The stock rose as rumours of a private equity buyout were reported.
Godfreys climbed 6.5 per cent to 33 cents after two major shareholders of the vacuum cleaner merchant agreed to sell their stake in the company to the 99-year-old co-founder of the business.
AMP dipped 0.3 per cent to $3.92 as the wealth management giant appeared in court for the first time to defend a class action brought on behalf of shareholders who lost money after damaging revelations at the banks royal commission.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar firmed slightly against the greenback, with high commodity prices supporting the local currency as US 10-year bond yields rise to the highest level in around seven years.
At 1700 AEST, the local currency was worth 75.23 US cents, from 75.34 US cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 6.9 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 6,087.4
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 6.3 points, or 0.1 per cent at 6,190.9 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 13 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 6,095 points
* National turnover was 2.4 billion securities traded worth $5.7 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.23 US cents, from 75.34 on Thursday
* 83.39 Japanese yen, from 83.22 yen
* 63.68 euro cents, from 63.83 euro cents
* 55.65 British pence, from 55.70 pence
* 109.09 NZ cents, from 109.38 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,290.08 per fine ounce, from $US1,289.48 per fine ounce on Thursday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 5.75 per cent May 2021, 2.223pct, from 2.2416pct on Thursday
* CGS 2.25pct May 2028, 2.9034pct, from 2.9212pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.085 (implying a yield of 2.915pct), from 97.065 (2.935pct) on Thursday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.73 (2.27pct), from 97.710 (2.290pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)