Australian shares fell back on Tuesday, with falls for BHP and the broader mining sector and a retreat in banks and consumer stocks weighing on the market.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 60.6 points, or 0.96 per cent, at 6,284.4 points, while the All Ordinaries was down 52.1 points, or 0.81 per cent, at 6,383.0 points.
The benchmark index slipped back below 6,300 points after two days above that mark as global miner BHP posted a writedown-driven 37 per cent drop in full-year profit to $US3.7 billion ($5.1 billion).
All sectors except for health care and consumer discretionary stocks finished the day in the red, with consumer staples dragged down by hefty falls for Woolworths and Wesfarmers, down 2.4 per cent and 1.6 per cent respectively.
BHP’s underlying profit for 2017/18 rose 33 per cent to $US8.93 billion, missing analyst expectations of around $9.1 billion, and a record final dividend of 63 US cents wasn’t enough to please investors.
Shares in BHP dropped 62 cents, or 1.9 per cent, to $32.55, while the broader mining sector was also lower.
Also reporting on Tuesday, Super Retail Group surged 75 cents, or 8.2 per cent, to $9.86 after it reported a 26 per cent jump in annual profit to $128.3 million.
Packaging giant Amcor fell 52 cents, or 3.6 per cent, to $13.76 despite a 21 per cent jump in full-year profit to $US724 million and an optimistic outlook saying tough trading conditions were starting to ease.
Banks lost ground, with Westpac leading the retreat, slipping 2.1 per cent to $29.50 while its other big four compatriots posted losses between 0.9 per cent at 1.2 per cent, dragging the broader market down.
Energy stocks also traded lower a day after the Australian government stepped back from legislating a commitment to Paris treaty emissions reductions in its signature energy policy.
Australian politics was in uproar as Prime Minister Malcolm on Tuesday faced down a party room challenge from immigration minister Peter Dutton, who subsequently resigned his post and moved to the parliamentary backbenches.
The failed challenge sets the scene for a repeat effort, casting further uncertainty over federal politics.
The Australian dollar rose against the US greenback in line with other global currencies after US president Donald Trump signalled his displeasure with the US Federal Reserve’s rate-hiking tendencies, sending the US dollar lower.
The Aussie was trading at 73.51 US cents at 1700 AEST, up from 73.03 US cents on Monday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed down 60.6 points, or 0.96 per cent, at 6,284.4 points
* The All Ordinaries was down 52.1 points, or 0.81 per cent, at 6,383.0 points.
* In futures trading the SPI200 futures index was down 56 points, or 0.9 per cent, at 6,258 points at 1630 AEST.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 73.51 US cents, from 73.03 US cents on Monday
* 80.91 Japanese yen, from 80.782
* 63.85 euro cents, from 63.96
* 57.30 British pence, from 57.32
* 110.25 NZ cents, from 110.40
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,194.74 per fine ounce, down from $US1,186.47 per fine ounce on Monday.