SYDNEY, AAP – Materials and energy were the two biggest burdens on the Australian share market, which was lower, following a weaker Wall Street.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 31.2 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 6684.2 at 1200 AEDT on Monday.
The All Ordinaries was lower by 30.5 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 6956.3.
Materials was lower by 1.75 per cent, energy was down 1.13 per cent, while another major sector, financials, was down by 0.75 per cent.
The health sector increased 0.94 per cent.
The ASX is following a weak lead from US markets, which slipped after banks’ earnings reports disappointed investors and a decline in December retail sales data.
Much attention will be on US president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration this week and first days in office.
The man who will replace Donald Trump last week unveiled a $US1.9 trillion stimulus proposal for the flagging US economy.
In Australia, the head of Australia’s health department believes it unlikely international borders will substantially reopen this year, even if most people are vaccinated against coronavirus.
Brendan Murphy downplayed the prospect of a widespread easing of border restrictions, meaning dreams of international travel will remain on hold.
There were no local coronavirus infections reported in Australia, although some state leaders want more people to come forward for testing.
On the ASX, two retail groups have reported bumper first-half earnings.
Super Retail Group, which owns BCF, Macpac, Rebel and Supercheap Auto, said net profit after tax was expected to rise up to 201 per cent to $173 million, based on preliminary figures.
The company on February 17 will give first-half earnings for the six months to December 26.
Shares were higher 1.1 per cent to $11.88.
JB Hi-Fi, which includes the whitegoods chain The Good Guys, said preliminary figures indicated an 86.2 per cent rise in net profit after tax to $317.7 million.
JB Hi-Fi on February 15 will give first-half earnings for the six months to December 31.
Shares reached a record $55.25, then eased to be higher 3.5 per cent to $52.55.
In technology, Afterpay reached a record $140.40, then eased to be lower by 0.35 per cent to $132.68.
IT services provider Data#3 said first-half pre-tax profit was expected to be up to nine per cent higher than the same period the previous year.
Data#3 said the profit estimate was $13.7 million.
Shares were higher by 5.89 per cent to $5.57.
In mining, BHP lost 2.86 per cent to $45.48, Fortescue shed 0.79 per cent to $24.98 while Rio Tinto lost 2.12 per cent to $117.96.
In banking, ANZ and NAB had the biggest losses of the big four. They shed more than 1.2 per cent each.
The Aussie dollar was buying 76.93 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 77.61 US cents at Friday’s close.