SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market has eased lower and was a little more than 100 points from its record close.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was lower by 15.3 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 7043.3 at 1200 AEST.
The index on Thursday and Wednesday closed at its highest levels since February last year, when investors rushed to sell stocks due to fear of the coronavirus.
The ASX200 record close was also in February, 7162.49.
The All Ordinaries on Friday was down by 11.6 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 7305.9 points.
The index earlier reached a session high of 7325.9, just short of its record, 7331.1.
Energy stocks have had the greatest fall, 1.23 per cent.
Financial stocks, a major part of the market, fell 0.69 per cent.
The top sector was information technology, up 0.39 per cent.
The ASX slump follows records on Wall Street earlier.
The Dow Jones closed above 34,000 for the first time as the blue-chip benchmark and S&P 500 posted record highs.
The records were helped by a tech stock rally, fuelled by falling bond yields and strong March US retail sales data.
Bond yields, after spiking at the end of March, have fallen as investors accept the US Federal Reserve’s assurances that interest rates will not rise this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 305.16 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 34,036.05, the S&P 500 gained 45.79 points, or 1.11 per cent, to 4,170.45 and the Nasdaq Composite added 180.92 points, or 1.31 per cent, to 14,038.76.
In Australia, National Australia Bank’s boss is seeing a stronger-than-expected recovery amongst business customers after last year’s pandemic-fuelled recession.
Ross McEwan told a House of Representatives economics committee that Australia’s biggest business bank has widespread signs of businesses getting going again.
NAB shares were down 1.08 per cent to $26.55.
The shares were the worst performing of the big four banks, which were all lower.
Energy provider Origin has lowered its earnings guidance after an arbitrator’s decision that will increase the cost of gas purchased from Beach Energy.
Origin revised its forecast earnings for energy markets to between $940 million and $1.02 billion this financial year. The previous range was $1 billion to $1.14 billion.
The arbitrator decision means the cost of gas supplied in the Beach contract will rise by $30 million to $40 million this financial year, and by $60 million to $80 million the following financial year.
Origin shares were down 7.65 per cent to $4.34.
Beach shares were up 4.92 per cent to $1.81.
Pharmaceutical group Mayne Pharma rose 9.78 per cent to 50 cents after US health authorities approved a contraceptive pill.
Mayne Pharma has a 20-year licence to supply the pill, called Nextstellis, in the US and Australia.
The company said the product could be available in the US by the end of June.
Australian health authorities are still reviewing Nextstellis.
Big miners were mixed. BHP rose 0.21 per cent to $47.43, Fortescue lost one per cent to $20.74 and Rio Tinto gained 0.6 per cent to $118.42.
The Australian dollar was buying 77.35 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 77.21 US cents at Thursday’s close.