SYDNEY, AAP – The Australian share market edged to a fresh high on Friday but the going has been tougher in a volatile session.
The ASX200 benchmark extended Thursday’s record by half a point to 7282.3 on Friday before a sharp dip in trading.
The index dropped to about 7,258 points after data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed lending for housing rose to a record high in April.
Lending rose 3.7 per cent as investors continue to swoop on the low interest rates of the pandemic economy, raising concerns of potential regulatory moves to cool the property market.
The Reserve Bank has said lending standards must be maintained and it is monitoring the market.
By 1200 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was higher by 7.8 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 7267.9 at 1200 AEST.
The All Ordinaries was up by 5.2 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 7515.9.
Health shares were the best performing and higher by 1.34 per cent.
CSL shares were up 1.41 per cent to $291.08.
There were gains of more than one per cent for shares in industrials and utilities.
The worst performers were materials shares, which lost 1.97 per cent.
Iron ore prices were higher but did not stop investors selling materials suppliers.
BHP shed 2.44 per cent to $48.38. Fortescue lost 2.47 per cent to $22.86. Rio Tinto dipped 2.99 per cent to $123.20.
There was not much help from US markets.
Better-than-expected employment data raised expectations of higher inflation and an earlier tapering of Federal Reserve stimulus.
US Treasury yields jumped, lifting the US dollar and pulling down tech shares.
The S&P 500 lost 0.4 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite suffered a one per cent slide. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fared relatively better, slipping 0.1 per cent.
On the ASX, The Reject Shop dropped 8.54 per cent to $5.78 after it said sales at city stores continued to be well below pre-COVID levels.
Group sales for the 48 weeks to May 30 were down by 1.4 per cent on the equivalent 2019 financial year period.
Melbourne’s coronavirus lockdown will not help.
Artificial intelligence provider Appen said its boss Mark Brayan had sold $1.43 million in shares to meet tax obligations.
Investors were concerned by the decision and sent shares lower by 5.66 per cent to $12.32.
In banking, the big four were all higher by less than one per cent.
NAB was best of the group and rose 0.99 per cent to $27.39.
Bendigo Bank had a gain of 3.13 per cent to $106.85.
Energy shares were 0.31 per cent higher.
They have had big gains this week following an OPEC decision not to further increase supply.
The Australian dollar was buying 77.56 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 77.30 US cents at Thursday’s close.