Energy stocks continue to weigh on the Australian share market but a bounce for three of the big four banks has helped trim overall losses.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had been as much as 0.3 per cent early on but was down just 7.4 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 6,374.7 points at 1200 AEST on Friday.
The broader All Ordinaries was 7.3 points, or 0.11 per cent, down at 6,463.3.
Energy continued to be the worst performing sector with a 1.41 per cent decline after oil prices eased following Brent crude’s first touch of $US75 for nearly six months – a move that hints at a pullback following the commodity’s recent good run.
Woodside Petroleum, Origin, Oil Search, and Santos were each down by more than a percentage point.
But the heavyweight financial sector clawed back its early losses to sit flat after three of the four big banks moved higher.
Commonwealth Bank was 0.2 per cent higher at $75.31, Westpac was 0.25 per cent higher at $27.65, and ANZ was flat at $27.38, with all three having been in the red shortly after the open.
NAB was still subdued, down 0.23 per cent to $25.60.
Elsewhere, BHP lost 0.9 per cent to $37.855, Rio Tinto was 0.46 per cent lower at $97.94, and Fortesuce Metals dropped 4.47 per cent to $7.26 to drag the mining sector lower.
Consumer discretionary stocks were also down – the sector slipping by 0.76 per cent – after Flight Centre lost more than 12 per cent in value following a 15 per cent profit downgrade on weak domestic leisure spending.
In the US overnight, the S&P500 closed flat as weakness in industrials offset gains in Facebook and Microsoft, the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.21 per cent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.51 per cent.
The Australian dollar had rebounded a little and was worth 70.25 US cents, from 70.16 on Thursday.