SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market was lower and most sectors down, a day after its highest close since the coronavirus crash.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 26.4 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 6972.4 at 1200 AEST on Friday.
The index on Thursday closed at its highest level since February last year, when investors fretted about the coronavirus and started a selling spree.
The All Ordinaries was lower by 21.1 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 7229.2 points.
The heavyweight sectors of financials and materials were lower by 0.34 and 0.33 per cent respectively.
There were losses of a little more than one per cent for energy and consumer staples.
Investors may be a little concerned by a delay in the coronavirus vaccine rollout.
Health supremos have recommended not giving the AstraZeneca vaccine to people under 50 because of a rare but serious blood clot side effect.
The advice destroys the Morrison government’s October rollout target with the immunisation effort not likely to be completed until 2022.
Market heavyweight CSL, which has been producing the AstraZeneca vaccine, was down one per cent to $263.28.
Meanwhile in the US, markets closed higher despite a second consecutive rise in weekly initial jobless claims data.
US bond yields fell, which helped investment in growth stocks such as technology ones.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 57.31 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 33,503.57, the S&P 500 gained 17.22 points, or 0.42 per cent, to 4,097.17 and the Nasdaq Composite added 140.47 points, or 1.03 per cent, to 13,829.31.
Back in Australia, the Reserve Bank has acknowledged it is fuelling cheap finance for home buyers but is not worried about undue risk to financial stability.
Growth in asset prices has not been linked to a significant increase in debt, according to the RBA’s assessment of Australia’s financial system.
On the ASX, Afterpay confirmed it had increased its stake in its US operation from 80 per cent to 91 per cent after buying shares.
The company revealed the plan in February.
Shares were up 0.03 per cent to $120.05.
Air New Zealand has postponed a capital raising to some time before September 30.
The airline was due to raise funds by June 30, but company leaders want more time to consider coronavirus vaccinations and travel arrangements with Australia.
In the interim, the airline has reworked its loan with the New Zealand government and will borrow an extra $600 million. The total loan is $1.5 billion.
Shares were up 1.8 per cent to $1.69.
The big four banks were all down by less than half a per cent.
In mining, Rio Tinto was down 0.51 per cent to $115.28 as its annual general meeting looms later this evening in the UK.
BHP lost 1.06 per cent to $46.56 and Fortescue dipped 0.71 per cent to $20.85.
The Australian dollar was buying 76.45 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 76.35 US cents at Thursday’s close.