The Australian share market has posted its largest daily fall in seven weeks due to weakness for Telstra, the major banks and mining giants.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 42.6 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 6,041.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 40.3 points, or 0.65 per cent, to 6,149.9 points.
Australian Stock Report chief market strategist Chris Conway said a lack of positive news contributed to the negative reaction to “pretty damning” evidence at the latest hearings of the financial services royal commission.
The commission is hearing evidence about the banks and their assessments of business owners seeking loans. Westpac on Tuesday defended pursuing an elderly disability pensioner’s home that had been used as security for her daughter’s failed business venture.
“The financials started a bit of a nose dive and the rest of the market followed suit,” Mr Conway said.
“We’re operating in a vacuum and there just isn’t any positive catalyst to push the market higher.”
Westpac dropped 0.8 per cent to $28.43, ANZ shed 1.6 per cent to $27.86, National Australia Bank slid 0.6 per cent to $27.09 and Commonwealth Bank gained 0.2 per cent to $70.25 after a late rally.
Telstra shares continued to slide, amid concerns about its earnings and dividends, dropping 2.2 per cent to a new seven-year low of $2.74.
The telco was also hit by a network outage on Monday that it has since blamed on a software fault.
BHP fell 0.7 per cent to $33.71, Rio Tinto shed 0.5 per cent to $84.60 and Fortescue Metals was 1.7 per cent weaker at $4.63.
Private hospital operator Healthscope dropped 2.4 per cent to $2.40 as it said it will close two Victorian hospitals and write down the value of another, which will lead to impairment charges of $85 million in its full-year accounts.
Building products maker James Hardie gained four per cent to $23.35 after it reported a 17 per cent increase in its full-year adjusted operating profit and lifted its final dividend.
The Australian dollar held the gains it made in overnight trade on the back of news of an easing of trade tensions between the US and China.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 42.6 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 6,041.9 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was 40.3 points, or 0.65 per cent, at 6,149.9 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 48 points, or 0.79 per cent, at 6,045 points
* National turnover was 2.78 billion securities traded worth $5.33 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.88 US cents, from 75.08 US cents on Monday
* 84.35 Japanese yen, from 83.61 yen
* 64.52 euro cents, from 64.01 euro cents
* 56.55 British pence, from 55.96 pence
* 109.04 NZ cents, from 108.98 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,288.10 per fine ounce, from $US1,283.18 per fine ounce on Monday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 5.75 per cent May 2021, 2.201pct, from 2.2103pct on Monday
* CGS 2.25pct May 2028, 2.8656pct, from 2.8887pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.125 (implying a yield of 2.875pct), from 97.100 (2.900pct) on Monday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.755 (2.245pct), from 97.745 (2.255pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)