The Australian share market has shrugged off some of its earlier losses but fears of a slowdown in China have continued to drag on the local bourse.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 14 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 5619.4 at 1615 AEDT on Friday, following a morning that saw it lower by more than one per cent..
The broader All Ordinaries was down 17.6 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 5677.
With Thursday’s profit warning by Apple dominating market sentiment, “it’s very much a trading risk-off day,” said Julia Lee, a market analyst with Bell Direct.
Traders moved into higher-yielding defensive stocks such as utilities – up 1.9 per cent – and telecoms – up 0.38 per cent – and away from riskier plays, Lee said.
Information technology stocks slumped more than two per cent, with cloud logistics software company Wisetech Global down 4.24 per cent, to $16.47, and circuit board software company Altium Limited off 3.93 per cent, to $20.79.
Among telecoms, Telstra gained 1.4 per cents, to $2.89, and in the utility sector natural gas and electricity company APA Group was up 3.12 per cent, to $8.93.
A2 Milk Company, which has strong exposure to China through infant formula sales, fell 3.81 per cent, to $10.10.
Healius had another strong day, up 12 cents, or 4.56 per cent, to $2.75, after Thursday’s takeover news.
China’s Jangho Group has made a highly conditional offer of $3.25 a share for the medical centre and pathology group.
Discretionary consumer stocks were also again lower following Kathmandu’s warning on Thursday that its holiday sales had been lacklustre.
The dual-listed outdoor retailer was down 2.22 per cent to $2.20; while luxury bedding company Adairs was off 4 per cent, to $1.68; and furniture importer Nick Scali was off 2.81 per cent, to $4.85.
There were fears more profit warnings for the discretionary consumer sector were still to come, Lee said.
Wesfarmers had a better day, up 33 cents, or 1.04 per cent, to $23.08.
The gold miners were a bright spot with the precious metal price near a six-month high. Newcrest gaining 3.89 per cent to $23.53, Northern Star up 1.46 per cent to $9.71 and Evolution up 2.09 per cent to $3.90.
OceanaGold was down, however, off 14 cents, or 2.66 per cent, to $5.12.
It was a mixed day for the big banks. Westpac and Commonwealth were flat while NAB was up 0.21 per cent, to $23.98, and ANZ was down 0.37 per cent, to $24.25.
Among the airlines, Qantas shares were down 0.87 per cent to $5.69 and Virgin Australia flat at 19 cents.
Trading volume was still light, at around $3 billion, and probably won’t return to normal until the school holidays are over at the end of the month, Lee said.
The Australian dollar edged higher at 70.23 US cents, up 0.25 per cent after Thursday’s flash-crash.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 14 points, or 0.25 per cent to 5619.4
* The All Ordinaries was down 17 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 5677.
* At 1415 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 2 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 5564.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1415 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 70.23 US cents, from 70.05 on Thursday
* 76.10 Japanese yen, from 75.41
* 61.63 euro cents, from 61.48
* 55.57 British pence, from 55.44
* 1.05 NZ cents, unchanged from 1.05
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1415 AEDT was $US1,294.32 per fine ounce, from $US1294.10 on Thursday.