The Australian share market has closed lower, weighed down by APEC trade tensions and a financial sector hit by more banking woes and the loss of a significant contract for Medibank Private.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 36.9 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 5,693.7 at 1630 AEDT on Monday, while the All Ordinaries was down 36.4 points at 5,786.4.
“Even though we had some modest gains on Friday, some of the negative sentiment flowing over from the conversation had between US and China at the APEC summit has certainly put a dampener on the market at the start of the week,” CommSec market analyst James Tao told AAP.
Woes in the Australian financial sector were led by Medibank Private dropping 6.14 per cent after surfacing from a trading halt on Monday sparked by the loss of a large Australian Defence Force contract.
Shares in Medibank, which was government-owned until its 2014 privatisation, were halted on Monday after the ADF told the insurer it would not extend its current arrangement with Medibank’s Garrison Health Services past June next year.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Matt Comyn has fronted the royal commission admitting the bank failed to protect customers in preference of financial gain at their expense.
“We seemed to be caught reacting, responding, remediation, in an ever-increasing cycle of that without actually truly understanding the root cause, making the appropriate investments to actually prevent issues from recurring,” he said on Monday.
Commonwealth finished Monday’s trading down 0.58 per cent at $68.50, however ANZ plummeted even further down 0.79 per cent to $25.16.
Westpac and NAB were also down between 0.59 and 0.8 per cent.
Thanks to fall in the price of crude oil, energy stocks were a major drain on the Australian market with Caltex leading the losses, down 1.82 per cent to $26.40.
Woodside Petroleum and Santos fell 1.42 per cent and 1.13 per cent respectively, while Origin Energy lost 1.29 per cent.
After making significant gains of about 10 per cent on Friday, technology stocks AfterPay slipped down 8.77 per cent followed by Xero, down 5.26 per cent.
For the 177-year-old Fairfax Media company, Monday signalled an official end to it as an independent entity when shareholders voted in favour of the proposed merger with Nine Entertainment after a late bid from former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano failed.
The Australian dollar has bounced back despite China-US trade tensions, buying 73.06 US cents up from 72.68 US cents on Friday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 36.9 points, or 0.64 per cent, lower at 5,693.7
* The All Ordinaries closed 36.4 points, or 0.63 per cent, lower at 5,786.4
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 32 points at 5,690 points
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 73.06 US cents, from 72.68 US cents cents on Friday
* 82.40 Japanese yen, from 82.39
* 64.1 euro cents, from 64.09
* 56.98 British pence, from 56.81
* 106.75 NZ cents, from 106.40
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1,219.038 per fine ounce, up from $US1,215.01 on Friday.