The Australian share market has fallen amid escalating tensions in the Middle East, with every sector down except for energy.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 66.6 points, or 0.98 per cent, to 6,759.8 points at 1200 AEDT on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 67.5 points, or 0.97 per cent, to 6,876.1 points.
Global markets were jittery as Iran fired a series of ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases hosting US troops, although no injuries had been reported.
The price of Brent crude spiked 3.5 per cent to over $US70 a barrel – a seven-month high – sending energy stocks up 1.3 per cent.
Beach Energy rose 4.3 per cent, Santos gained 2.8 per cent and Woodside Petroleum climbed 1.7 per cent.
Qantas – whose biggest expense is jet fuel – dropped 4.5 per cent to $6.78 while Air New Zealand’s ASX-listed shares were down 1.1 per cent to $2.83.
Gold prices climbed 1.7 per cent to hit a six-year high of over $US1,600 an ounce, pushing Newcrest up 3.7 per cent, Evolution and Saracen Minerals both up 5.0 per cent and St Barbara gaining 4.3 per cent.
Australian bond yields fell around six per cent to three-week lows as investors bought the safe-haven asset.
The rest of the share market was in broad decline, with tech stocks falling the most, down collectively 2.3 per cent.
WiseTech Global dropped 4.4 per cent to $22.89, Afterpay was down 3.5 per cent to $29.36 and Xero fell 2.4 per cent to $80.09.
All four big banks were down, with Commonwealth falling 1.4 per cent to $80.105; NAB and Westpac both down 1.3 per cent, to $24.58 and $24.30, respectively; and ANZ falling 1.2 per cent to $24.64.
For the big miners, BHP was down 0.8 per cent to $39.22, Rio Tinto fell 1.2 per cent to $100.49, and South32 dropped 2.1 per cent to $2.74.
Independence Group rose 8.1 per cent to $7.025 after announcing its first half nickel, copper and gold production in Western Australia had had beaten guidance despite bushfires disrupting deliveries and haulage at its two Western Australia mines.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was buying 68.61 US cents, down from 69.17 US cents when the ASX closed on Tuesday.