Australia’s share market was slightly lower despite GDP figures showing the nation has emerged from recession, and a good Wall Street lead.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was down 13.9 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 6574.6 at 1200 AEDT on Wednesday.
The All Ordinaries dropped 14.4 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 6797.8.
The materials sector, which include miners, was up 0.64 per cent, while financials was down 0.53 per cent.
Investors appeared uninterested in news that Australia’s economy grew by 3.3 per cent in the September quarter, more than economists expected.
The result means the economy has emerged from its first recession in nearly 30 years.
The ASX200 declined after the data was published at 1130 AEDT.
There also appeared to be no influence from US markets, which closed higher as investors bet on a COVID-19 vaccine being available soon.
Tribeca Investment Partners portfolio manager Jun Bei Liu was not surprised by the middling ASX trade.
“We had a strong day yesterday and we’re coming off a strong November,” she said.
The ASX gained more than one per cent on Tuesday, and rose more than nine per cent in November.
“A lacklustre performance is just a part of strong markets,” Ms Liu said.
Meanwhile, Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech have sought emergency approval of their coronavirus vaccine candidate from the European regulator.
Competitor Moderna also applied for emergency approval from the European regulator.
On the ASX, Westpac said it would sell its insurance businesses to Allianz for $725 million.
The bank will continue offering home and contents insurance by licensing the products from Allianz.
Shares were down 0.35 per cent to $20.21.
ANZ dropped 0.48 per cent to $22.99, the Commonwealth was down 0.91 per cent to $79.52 and NAB lost 0.69 per cent to $22.88.
Biotech Mesoblast rose 6.05 per cent to $4.38 after US authorities decided to hasten approval of its drug for critically ill COVID-19 patients.
Mesoblast has a phase-three trial under way in the US of remestemcel-L, which is delivered intravenously.
The company and its partner Novartis could next apply for emergency use.
Gaming group Crown Resorts has appointed a chief compliance and financial crimes officer, following a NSW inquiry into its fitness to hold a Sydney casino license.
Steven Blackburn will move from his current job as National Australia Bank’s chief financial crime risk officer and group money laundering reporting officer to Crown on March 1.
Shares were down 0.21 per cent to $9.73.
In mining, BHP rose 1.06 per cent to $38.97, Rio Tinto gained 0.97 per cent to $103.95 and Fortescue lost 1.25 per cent to $18.10.
In the US earlier, strong Chinese factory data and more efforts to deliver financial stimulus buoyed investors.
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers unveiled a $US908 billion COVID-19 relief bill to help small business, the unemployed and more.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.63 per cent to end at 29,823.92 points, while the S&P 500 gained 1.13 per cent to 3,662.44.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.28 per cent to 12,355.11.
The Aussie dollar was buying 73.82 US cents at 1200 AEDT, higher from 73.66 US cents at Tuesday’s close.