SYDNEY, AAP – National Australia Bank shares have fallen despite the bank nearly doubling first-half profit on a weak day for the Australian market.
Investors expected more from NAB, which recorded a 94 per cent jump in first-half cash earnings to $3.3 billion.
Shares were down 3.1 per cent to $26.52.
NAB was not alone in its fortunes as the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index traded lower by 23 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 7072.8 at 1200 AEST.
On Wednesday the index closed at its highest level since the coronavirus crash began in February last year.
The All Ordinaries on Thursday was down by 22 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 7322.2 points.
Information technology shares had the biggest losses, 2.26 per cent, after the US Nasdaq slipped earlier.
Artificial intelligence provider Appen plummeted on the ASX by 13.02 per cent to $12.82.
Boss Mark Brayan told a bank conference sales growth was being stymied by the rising Aussie dollar and the coronavirus.
Tech giant Afterpay slumped by 5.36 per cent to $101.22.
The technology selling has continued after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested interest rates might need to rise in an economy rapidly recovering from the coronavirus.
US trading provided a mixed lead. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at a record high, driven higher by energy and other economically sensitive shares.
The S&P 500 closed little changed.
On the Australian market, there were losses of more than one per cent for shares in property, consumer discretionaries and telecommunications.
TPG Telecom told its annual general meeting that longstanding chief financial officer Stephen Banfield was leaving.
Mr Banfield had been in his role for 12 years with TPG companies, and continued in the merger with Vodafone.
His departure follows founder David Teoh leaving in March.
Shares were down six per cent to $5.21.
In banking, NAB’s peers in the big four were all lower by one per cent or less.
Commodities shares were the only ones to have substantial gains.
BHP was close to its record price of $50.93.
Shares rose to $50.33, then eased to be higher by 3.09 per cent to $50.27.
Fortescue was up 2.2 per cent to $23.22. Rio Tinto climbed 1.75 per cent to $126.73.
Qantas’ plans to coordinate flights with Japan Airlines face opposition from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The watchdog said the airlines’ proposal would eliminate the chances of the two competing for passengers, as they did before the pandemic.
A COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, so far limited to two members of the same family, is also likely hampering trade in travel stocks.
Qantas shares were down 2.39 per cent to $4.69.
The Australian dollar was buying 77.56 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 77.43 US cents at Tuesday’s close.