The Australian share market is still hovering around a decade-high despite a slight retreat on Friday after a week of strong gains.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 6.9 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 6,225.2 points on Friday, bringing its weekly gain to more than two per cent, while the broader All Ordinaries slipped 10.8 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 6,322.1 points.
Every sector closed in the red, apart from the financials after ANZ’s announcement it would would increase its share buyback program by a further $1.5 billion to $3 billion.
The news sent ANZ shares up 2.9 per cent to $28.65, and the positivity spread to the other major banks, with the National Australia Bank rising 1.2 per cent to $27.64, Westpac advancing 1.1 per cent to $29.38 and the Commonwealth Bank gaining 1.3 per cent to $73.86.
Telstra continued to fall as investors ponder the telco’s restructure plans – announced on Wednesday – that include 8000 jobs being cut.
Telstra shares fell four cents, or 1.5 per cent, to close at $2.68 cents, nearing the all-time low of $2.55 posted in 2010.
InvestSMART chief market strategist Evan Lucas said given a lot of analysts predict Telstra will slash its dividend from 22 cents to as low as 15 to 19 cents, this may have steered some income-orientated investors out of the telco and into the banks.
Energy stocks were also pummelled as investors bailed amid uncertainty over whether OPEC will manage to agree a production increase at a meeting in Vienna this weekend.
Santos slumped 3.4 per cent to $5.94, Oil Search dropped 1.8 per cent to $8.35, Origin Energy fell 1.8 per cent to $9.72 and Woodside Petroleum was down 1.5 per cent to $34.37.
In companies news, APN Outdoor retreated 2.4 per cent to $6.40 after revealing it has increased its bid for rival Here, There & Everywhere’s Adshel advertising unit to $540 million.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar lifted on Friday but was significantly down for the week against the backdrop of an interest rate differential between Australia and the US and a risk-off scenario given the US-China teetering on the brink of a trade war.
“The Aussie dollar is a proxy for China and we’ve seen Chinese markets this week get absolutely towelled up as they should be considering that the risk is there,” Mr Lucas said.
“Unfortunately (with) the Aussie dollar being a risk currency exposed to emerging markets, particularly Asia, we feel the same thing.”
The local currency was trading at 73.99 US cents at 1700 AEST on Friday, from 73.49 US cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 6.9 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 6,225.2 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 10.8 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 6,322.1 points.
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 14 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 6,167 points
* National turnover was 2.9 billion securities traded worth $6.6 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 74.04 US cents, from 73.49 on Thursday
* 81.38 Japanese yen, from 81.30 yen
* 63.62 euro cents, from 63.68 euro cents
* 55.72 British pence, from 55.97 pence
* 107.26 NZ cents, from 107.61 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,266.78 per fine ounce, from $US1,262.71 per fine ounce on Thursday
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
* CGS 4.50 per cent May 2021, 2021, 2.0952pct, from 2.1267pct on Thursday
* CGS 4.75pct May 2028, 2.6494pct, from 2.6762pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* September 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.33 (implying a yield of 2.67pct), from 97.31 on Thursday
* September 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.875 (2.125pct), from 97.85 (2.15pct)