A late rally from banking stocks kept the Australian share market from the doldrums reached in October, but broad-based losses still dragged the indices lower with local tech stocks following the fortunes of US counterparts.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 21.9 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 5671.8 on Tuesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 0.47 per cent.
The tech sector fell nearly three per cent after seemingly taking the lead from Wall Street, where sliding Apple shares wrecked havoc – Afterpay and Xero lost 4.8 and 5.4 per cent, and Altium fell 9.4 per cent,
US tech companies missing earnings guidance and continual analyst downgrades are feared to spread to Australia because of the supply chain of related materials, CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy said.
“Australia, with its high engagement with both the US and China, is going to be one of those that’s going to be disproportionately affected,” he told AAP.
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Energy and industrial shares also weighed on the market as oil prices were mixed.
Oil Search and Santos fell hardest, down 1.7 and two per cent respectively, while Origin Energy and Woodside Petroleum both lost 0.7 per cent.
The financial sector regained ground from the morning’s trading and closed half a per cent higher.
NAB had the strongest gains of the big four lenders, up 1.3 per cent to $23.89, and ANZ the weakest, up 0.6 per cent to $25.30.
Mining stocks lost ground despite stronger metals prices and the freshly-renamed giant BHP Group climbing 0.9 per cent to $32.69.
Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals were up 0.6 and 0.7 per cent, while South32 and BlueScope lost 1.2 and 1.5 per cent.
The gold miners were a rare bright spot for most of the day after precious metal prices rose overnight, with OceanaGold and Saracen Mineral climbing 2.8 and 3.2 per cent.
But health care shares were a significant drag, down 2.5 per cent, with biotech giant CSL losing 3.6 per cent to $175.75, while ResMed lost 1.4 per cent to $14.00.
In companies news, A2 Milk reversed early gains to close 1.2 two per cent lower to $9.68 on a 64.5 per cent net profit lift for the first four months of 2018/19.
And livestock producer AACo was up 1.2 per cent despite revealing a global beef glut and the east coast drought saw it post a first-half net loss of $68.40m.
The Australian dollar came off its high as risk sentiment got a knock amid worries about global growth and worsening trade relations between the United States and China.
The Aussie was buying 72.76 US cents at 1630 AEDT from 73.06 US cents on Monday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 21.9 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 5671.8
* The All Ordinaries closed down 27.2 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 5759.2
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 13 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 5678.0
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 72.76 US cents, from 73.06 US cents cents on Monday
* 81.88 Japanese yen, from 82.40
* 62.55 euro cents, from 64.10
* 56.59 British pence, from 56.98
* 106.32 NZ cents, from 106.75
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1,222.50 per fine ounce, up from $US1,219.038 on Monday