SYDNEY, AAP – Shares on the Australian market were lower for a second consecutive day as miners continued to suffer from lower iron ore prices.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was down 59.8 points, or 0.89 per cent, to 6654.3 at 1200 AEDT on Thursday.
The All Ordinaries was lower by 57.3 points, or 0.82 per cent, at 6889.9.
Most sectors were down.
The materials sector dropped 1.48 per cent as the iron ore price fell more than five per cent to $US165 (China Port).
The price drop follows more pollution restrictions being introduced for steel producers in the Chinese city of Tangshan.
This may mean steel producers require less iron ore.
The financial sector was down 1.15 per cent.
The biggest loss was in information technology, which slipped by 4.27 per cent.
The ASX slide comes despite US markets closing mostly higher following data that calmed inflation fears and Congress’ approval to one of the largest economic stimulus measures in US history.
A key measure of inflation at the consumer level came in lower than expected last month, helping to calm investors who had worried that prices could rise too quickly as the economy recovers.
Meanwhile the $US1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill passed by the US House of Representatives gave President Joe Biden his first major victory in office.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 464.28 points, or 1.46 per cent, to 32,297.02, the S&P 500 gained 23.37 points, or 0.60 per cent, to 3,898.81 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.99 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 13,068.83.
In Australia, the federal government has revealed a $1.2 billion stimulus package for the shattered tourism industry.
The funding includes 800,000 discounted airline tickets as well as loans for struggling tourism operators, designed to ease the pain when JobKeeper wage subsidies end this month.
Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner said the $1.2 billion package would do little for the industry.
However his company benefited on the share market.
Flight Centre rose 9.66 per cent to $19.52.
Webjet was up 2.55 per cent to $6.01, while Qantas rose 1.93 per cent to $5.27.
Among the miners, BHP was down 3.19 per cent to $46.08, Fortescue dropped 0.93 per cent to $20.14 and Rio Tinto shed 1.04 per cent to $113.29.
Job advertising platform Seek has hired the chief financial officer of RMIT University to replace its outgoing one.
Kate Koch will join in June from the Melbourne university and replace the retiring Geoff Roberts.
Ms Koch has been in her role for four years and earlier worked in the retail, publishing and media industries.
Shares were higher by 0.01 per cent to $26.55.
Afterpay suffered from the big technology sale and dropped 8.51 per cent to $105.44.
There were moderate losses for the banks.
ANZ slipped 1.5 per cent to $28.08, the Commonwealth shed 0.96 per cent to $85.88, NAB dropped 0.91 per cent to $26.00 and Westpac lost 0.89 per cent to $24.38.
The Australian dollar was buying 77.27 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 76.79 US cents at Wednesday’s close.