SYDNEY, AAP – Shares were lower on the Australian market as materials and health lost about one per cent each, after US markets closed lower.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was lower by 42.2 points, or 0.61 per cent, to 6843.7 at 1200 AEDT on Friday.
The All Ordinaries was lower by 42.6 points, or 0.59 per cent, at 7112.9.
Energy had the biggest loss, 1.77 per cent.
There were declines of more than one per cent for materials and consumer discretionaries, while health lost 0.93 per cent.
The falls follow investors in the US moving out of big technology names.
The Nasdaq Composite dropped 100.14 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 13,865.36, including a loss for Facebook as investors assessed the ramifications of its move to block all news stories in Australia.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 119.68 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 31,493.34 and the S&P 500 lost 17.36 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 3,913.97.
An unexpected rise in weekly US jobless claims pointed to a fragile recovery in the labour market.
Economic news was different in Australia.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ preliminary figures for retail trade in January showed a 0.6 per cent increase, coming off a 4.1 per cent drop in December.
All states and territories rose in January, except Queensland (-1.5 per cent), where a three-day lockdown impacted trade.
On the ASX, battery technology provider Novonix was a major improver.
Its shares jumped 19.09 per cent to $3.43 after a deal to make energy storage systems with Emera Technologies.
The companies will target sales in North America.
Fashion retailer Lovisa was another big improver.
It rose 18.18 per cent to $13.00 after investors tipped it to bounce back from declines in first-half earnings.
Net profit was down 22 per cent to $21.5 million.
Investors will receive an interim payout of 20 cents per share, 50 per cent franked. This was higher from the previous interim dividend of 15 cents per share, fully franked.
Insurer QBE elected not to declare a final dividend, recording a statutory net loss after tax of $US1.5 billion ($A1.93 billion) following last year’s $US550 million profit.
The company put the somewhat expected result down to Australia’s bushfires, significant hail and storm claims, US wildfires and a record number of Atlantic hurricanes as well as business interruption claims triggered by COVID-19.
Shares were up 0.45 per cent to $8.76.
Poultry producer Inghams increased first-half earnings by 34 per cent as shoppers filled their fridges with chicken and turkey to eat at home during the pandemic.
Shareholders will receive a fully franked interim dividend of 7.5 cents per share, slightly better than the previous fully franked interim payout of 7.3 cents per share.
Shares were higher by 2.9 per cent to $3.72.
In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP was down 0.81 per cent to $48.11, Fortescue dropped 3.21 per cent to $24.08 after Thursday’s first-half earnings, and Rio Tinto shed 2.09 per cent to $124.83.
In the other major sector, banking, ANZ was up 0.71 per cent to $26.74, the Commonwealth was lower by 0.64 per cent to $83.08, NAB was down 1.01 per cent to $25.27 and Westpac dropped 1.19 per cent to $24.08.
The Aussie dollar was buying 77.73 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 77.54 US cents at Thursday’s close.