SYDNEY, AAP – Shares have eased lower on the Australian market prior to much-anticipated inflation data due in the US later.

The market was down about half a per cent on Friday and most categories were down after Wall Street closed lower.

US inflation data could prove critical as to whether the Federal Reserve eases its bond-buying more quickly. Board members meet next week.

On the ASX, shares in technology, healthcare and energy had the biggest falls.

Afterpay lost almost four per cent to $96.35. Market giant CSL dipped 1.39 per cent to $300.42.

Utilities shares fared best and were higher by half a per cent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 34.5 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 7350 points at 1200 AEDT.

The All Ordinaries was lower by 40.4 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 7649 points.

Fortescue Metals boss Elizabeth Gaines is leaving her post as the company transitions from an iron ore and metals explorer to a green energy and resources group.

She will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

Shares were down 0.65 per cent to $18.13.

The other big miners, BHP and Rio Tinto, each gained less than one per cent.

In banking, Bendigo Bank was one of the better performers and gained 1.37 per cent to $8.83.

The Commonwealth improved 0.15 per cent to $98.31. The other members of the big four each lost less than one per cent.

Shopping Centres Australasia said its property portfolio gained 9.7 per cent in the first half of its financial year.

More people shopping closer to home during the pandemic has helped the value of the properties.

Investors will receive a 26 per cent increase in the first-half distribution of 7.2 cents per unit.

Stapled securities were down about half a per cent to $2.84.

Car parts supplier Bapcor has refinanced its $270 million debt facilities and said it had a better maturity profile.

The company has continued access to a $520 million facility from five banks.

Shares were down 0.74 per cent to $6.65.

Steel maker Coronado has restarted work at its Curragh mine in Queensland following the death of a worker.

Work had been suspended since the man was fatally injured working there on November 21.

Shares were down about three and a half per cent to $1.16.

The Australian dollar will likely move according to how US inflation figures affect rate expectations.

The dollar was buying 71.40 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 71.73 US cents at Thursday’s close.