The Australian share market followed the lead of Wall Street and ended lower on Thursday. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell by 40 points or 0.5 per cent. The All Ordinaries index fell by 45 points or 0.6 per cent. Despite the decline, the ASX 200 is only 1.8 per cent short of record highs. In overseas markets on Wednesday, key US indexes were weaker with the Dow Jones down 0.6 per cent, the S&P 500 lower by 1.1 per cent and the Nasdaq was weaker by 1.7 per cent. But there were gains in Europe with the European FTSEurofirst300 index up by 0.2 per cent and the UK FTSE up 0.3 per cent.
In Australia on Thursday, the session was driven by earnings results with no key economic data issued. All of 12 industry sectors ended lower. Utilities fell by 2.7 per cent on a weaker share price for AGL Energy.
Shares in Mirvac (MGR) fell by 4.6 per cent after the building developer and investor reported a 62 per cent fall in statutory profit for the six months to December. Outgoing chief executive Susan Lloyd Hurwitz said that rising interest rates had affected home buyer sentiment.
AGL Energy (AGL) has reported a statutory loss of $1,075 million for the half-year to December. Upper-end profit guidance for the full year was also trimmed. The interim dividend was halved to 8 cents per share.
Shares in AGL fell by 10.3 per cent. Arena REIT (ARF) and Charter Hall Long Wale (CLW) reported earnings for the six months to December. Both posted weaker earnings for the period than a year earlier.
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Shares in ARF rose by 0.8 per cent while CLW fell by 0.4 per cent.
Internet services firm Megaport Limited (MP1) reported a 37 per cent improvement in statutory net profit for the six months to December. But MP1 won’t pay a dividend for the period. Cash levels also dropped from $70 million to $39.2 million. Shares in MP1 fell by 4.9 per cent.
ANZ has reported a lift in both net housing and institutional loans and advances, as well as term deposits for the three months to December 31. Shares in ANZ rose by 0.5 per cent, in contrast to falls for National Australia Bank (NAB) and Commonwealth Bank (CBA).
On Thursday, 3.3 billion shares were traded, worth $6.5 billion. Overall 498 stocks rose over the session, while 833 fell and 436 finished unchanged.
In the US on Thursday the usual weekly data on claims for unemployment benefits (jobless claims) will be issued.
Originally published by Craig James – Chief Economist (Author), Commsec