Australian shares have finished the week on a down note, with energy and mining sectors dragging the local bourse.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 21 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 6,071.5 points at 1615 AEDT on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 22.9 points, or 0.37 per cent, at 6,136.2.
CommSec market analyst James Tao said Friday was the day “we end our four-day winning streak,” referring to recent gains by the ASX200.
But the index still finished up 3.56 per cent on the week, its best weekly performance since the ASX200 gained 3.81 per cent in mid-July of 2016.
The markets were likely spooked on Friday on word from Washington that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had no plans to meet before a March 1 deadline to resolve their trade dispute, which “puts a dent in those thinking we could see a quick resolution in that space,” Mr Tao said.
There was also gloomy news from the United Kingdom, with the Bank of England saying it expected the country’s economic growth to be at its lowest level since 2009.
The energy sector led losses as oil prices fell more than two per cent, with oil and gas producer Santos Ltd losing 4.37 per cent to $6.35 and Oil Search dropping 3.5 per cent to $7.72.
A drop in copper prices also saw BHP dropping 1.51 per cent, to $35.33, and Rio Tinto dropping 1.77 per cent, to $90.57.
NAB closed down 0.72 per cent, or 18 cents, to $24.75, after the company announced after the close on Thursday that chief executive Andrew Thorburn and chairman Ken Henry would step down in the wake of criticism from the financial services royal commission.
Commonwealth Bank shares gained 0.93 per cent, or 69 cents, to $74.75, while Westpac was down 0.33 per cent and ANZ was up 0.11 per cent.
Property classifieds firm REA Group was down 4.98 per cent after it said its Australian real estate listings had dropped three per cent in the first half, and would likely drop lower as buyers wait for the results of the federal election.
Telstra gained 5 cents, or 1.57 per cent, to $3.24.
Meanwhile, the Aussie dollar dropped again after the RBA released its statement on monetary policy, with the central bank cutting its forecasts for inflation and GDP.
The Aussie dollar was buying 70.77 US cents, from 70.99 US cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 21 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 6,071.5 points at 1615 AEDT on Friday.
* The All Ordinaries was down 22.9 points, or 0.37 per cent, at 6,136.2
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 4 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 6,007.0.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 70.77 US cents, from 70.99 US on Thursday
* 77.65 Japanese yen, from 78.02
* 62.41 euro cents, from 62.48
* 54.66 British pence, from 54.89
* 104.80 NZ cents, from 105.18
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1308.91 per fine ounce, from $US1309.99 on Thursday.