SYDNEY, AAP – Australian shares fell in early trade after five days of gains and a poor lead from Wall Street.
The market was down by more than one per cent at noon on Friday as commodity prices, which have soared and bolstered shares since Russia invaded Ukraine, finally slipped.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 113.9 points, or 1.59 per cent, to 7037.5 points at 1200 AEDT.
The All Ordinaries index dropped 124.1 points, or 1.66 per cent, to 7322.7 points.
Brent crude oil eased to $US110.46 after concerns Russia would struggle to maintain supply pushed prices on Thursday to $US118.22.
As a result, local energy shares lost one per cent, as did most other sectors.
Technology shares fared worst and shed four per cent after the US Nasdaq index recorded the heaviest losses of the major US indices overnight.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been the dominant issue for investors all week as they try to assess its global economic impact.
Earlier in the US, Wall Street closed lower after rallying a day earlier when US Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell specified a March rate hike was likely to be only a quarter of a per cent.
In local company news, CSL was down one per cent to $254.71 after receiving 74 per cent of shares in takeover target Vifor Pharma.
The biotech giant said it would waive its original 80 per cent acceptance rate condition and declare its $16 billion takeover offer a success. Swiss government approval is still required.
Insurer QBE was down two per cent to $10.66 after receiving about 3,000 claims from the flooding of parts of Queensland and NSW.
The group said it was too early to calculate the financial impact. More claims are expected.
Meanwhile QBE is selling a North American business, Westwood Insurance Agency, for $375 million.
Software maker Infomedia was a rare rallying stock after revealing a former BMW and Google executive will lead the company.
Jens Monsees will join in May having worked in digital and automotive roles for BMW and Google.
Infomedia shares were up three per cent to $1.49.
Miners BHP, BlueScope, Fortescue and Rio Tinto lost one per cent each.
Banks had similar losses. Westpac fared the worst of the majors and shed two per cent to $22.00.
The Australian dollar was buying 73.05 US cents at 1200 AEDT, more than the 73.03 US cents at Thursday’s close.