The Australian share market has been hit by falls in the heavyweight energy and mining sectors caused by weaker commodity prices.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 30.6 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 5,994.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 30.1 points, or 0.49 per cent to 6,108.5 points.
CommSec market analyst Steve Daghlian said falls in commodity prices proved more influential to investors than positive sessions for markets in the US and Europe.
“Commodity prices took a big hit, oil in particular was down 1.6 per cent, iron ore down about 1.3 per cent, so the weakest areas in the market have been mainly around the resource space,” he said.
Woodside Petroleum fell 0.7 per cent to $32.02, Santos dropped 2.1 per cent to $5.65 and Origin Energy was 2.4 per cent weaker at $9.36.
BHP Billiton dropped 1.4 per cent to $32.74, Rio Tinto also fell 1.4 per cent to $81.95, and Fortescue Metals was 1.3 per cent weaker at $4.75.
The financial sector ended the session slightly stronger, thanks to gains by Commonwealth Bank, Perpetual, Bank of Queensland and Suncorp.
“The banks have really struggled for most of the year as a sector, the financials are off about 10 per cent or close to it, whereas the broader market is down about one per cent,” Mr Daghlian said.
Home loan broker Mortgage Choice plunged 41 cents, or 21.7 per cent, to $1.48, following media reports that almost half of its franchisees are considering taking legal action against the company over its remuneration structure.
Fairfax Media and the ABC reported that the franchisees may contribute to a fund to support legal action as part of a push to improve the pay structure, while Mortgage Choice has said it is consulting on a “more competitive” model.
Retail Food Group dropped 2.6 per cent to 76 cents after the Gloria Jean’s and Donut King operator forecast an annual loss of $87.6 million, due to previously flagged writedowns on some of its brands and the closure of up to 200 stores.
The Australian dollar dropped slightly after the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to keep the cash rate on hold for a 22nd consecutive month, Mr Daghlian said.
“The statement still had a tone of caution, no real major changes but they still have flagged the fact that financial markets are being affected by what’s going on in the eurozone with Spain and Italy,” he said.
The local currency was worth 76.38 US cents at 1700 AEST, down from 76.31 US cents on Monday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 30.6 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 5,994.9 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 30.1 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 6,108.5 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 26 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 6,000 points at 1630 AEST.
* National turnover was 3.3 billion securities traded worth $5.8 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 76.38 US cents, from 76.31 US cents on Monday
* 83.85 Japanese yen, from 83.68 yen
* 65.26 euro cents, from 65.33 euro cents
* 57.32 British pence, from 57.12 pence
* 108.50 NZ cents, from 108.83 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,293.79 per fine ounce, from $US1,291.267 per fine ounce on Monday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
* CGS 5.75 per cent May 2021, 2.159pct, from 2.1668pct on Monday
* CGS 2.25pct May 2028, 2.7287pct, from 2.7335pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.270 (implying a yield of 2.730pct), from 97.265 (2.735pct) on Monday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.805 (2.195pct), from 97.790 (2.210pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)