Overseas weakness has proven to be a drag on the Australian share market, with the benchmark index falling to a six-month low led by losses in banking and mining stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 58.6 points, or 0.99 per cent, at 5,837.1 points on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 58.6 points, or 0.98 per cent, at 5948.0.
CommSec chief market analyst Steven Daghlian said the financial sector continues to struggle with a concoction of international factors: US stocks falling heavily, Federal Reserve hiking interest rates and trade tensions between the Trump administration and China escalating.
“The difficulty here is that we’re at the mercy of what happens overseas and when the larger sectors are doing most poorly that’s not helpful,” he said.
The banking sector was 1.6 per cent lower with Commonwealth Bank suffering the biggest losses among the four major banks, down 2.1 per cent to $65.63, while NAB ended 1.6 per cent lower at $25.50.
Gold miners added rare lustre to the local market last week but the shine has rubbed off as the precious metal dipped on a strengthening US dollar and recovering global stocks.
The entire mining sector bounced back late in the day but still closed 1.1 per cent lower, with mining giant BHP shedding 1.5 per cent to $33.34.
Energy stocks, however, closed higher supported by oil prices due to supply concerns, as international pressure on Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist stoked worries about geopolitical tensions.
Santos was the best performer, up 2.9 per cent at $7.09.
Telecommunication stocks also rallied late to join the energy shares as the only sectors in positive territory.
The US benchmark S&P 500 had snapped a six-day losing streak on Friday, while the Nasdaq and Dow also finished the session higher, but analysts warned that until the US and China reach a trade deal, the rebound in the stockmarket could be vulnerable, with investors anxious about the impact of tariffs on corporate profits.
In other local news, Coles has announced its supermarket sales have jumped 5.1 per cent during the first quarter, as preparations continue for a vote on the chain’s proposed demerger.
Its parent company Wesfarmers closed 0.3 per cent lower at $47.18.
The Australian dollar once again came under pressure from a strengthening US dollar, buying 71.05 US cents, down from 71.26 on Friday.
ON THE ASX:
* The S&P/ASX200 was down 58.6 points, or 0.99 per cent, at 5,837.1 points
* The All Ordinaries was down 58.6 points, or 0.98 per cent, at 5948.0.
* In futures trading the SPI200 futures index was down 36 points, or 0.61 per cent, at 5818 points at 1630 AEDT.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 71.05 US cents, from 71.26 US cents on Friday
* 79.56 Japanese yen, from 80.08
* 61.50 euro cents, from 60.14
* 54.18 British pence, from 53.83
* 109.26 NZ cents, from 109.30
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1222.12 per fine ounce, up from $US1220.96 on Friday.