The Australian share market has closed marginally lower, with heavyweight healthcare and financial stocks unable to hold on to gains, and ended the week solidly in the red.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 5.4 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 5,730.6 on Friday, while the All Ordinaries was 2.4 points at 5,822.8.
Local shares started higher after overnight gains on Wall Street then lost steam around mid-day due to weakness in Asian markets.
“There is no real news driving the performance today, but we had some heavy losses on Tuesday and Wednesday, so there is an element of bargain hunting in heavyweight stocks,” CommSec market analyst James Tao said.
The local market is down around 3.2 per cent for the week.
Most of the heavy lifting on Friday was done by materials, healthcare and financial stocks.
The big miners continued their strong run, with BHP up 1.0 per cent to $32.36, Rio Tinto climbing 1.9 per cent to $79.31, and Fortescue jumping 3.8 per cent to $4.12.
Sonic Healthcare, up 1.4 per cent to $21.88, and Ansell, up 0.8 per cent to $23.25, were among the best performing healthcare stocks.
Commonwealth Bank was the only one of the big four to end in positive territory.
NAB was the worst performer, with shares down 0.5 per cent lower at $23.77 after a Sydney Morning Herald report that chief executive Andrew Thorburn’s actions following an alleged fraud against the bank were being investigated by police.
The newspaper said there was no suggestion of any wrongdoing by Mr Thorburn and NAB said the matter had been investigated internally and settled to its satisfaction.
Myer shares, which last traded at 45 cents on Thursday, remained in a trading halt to give the troubled retailer time to fully respond to reports of weak trading in the last quarter.
Other consumer-focused stocks also traded weaker, led by supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles-owner Wesfarmers down 0.7 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was buying 72.68 US cents at 1630 AEDT, holding on to gains from Thursday when it had bounced to 72.74 US cents on unexpectedly strong employment data.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed 5.4 points, or 0.09 per cent, lower at 5,730.6
* The All Ordinaries closed 2.4 points, or 0.04 per cent, lower at 5,822.8
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 26 points at 5,687 points
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 72.68 US cents, from 72.74 US cents on Thursday
* 82.39 Japanese yen, from 82.55
* 64.09 euro cents, from 64.18
* 56.81 British pence, from 55.91
* 106.40 NZ cents, from 106.97
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1,215.01 per fine ounce, from $US1,211.50 on Wednesday.