The Australian share market has closed lower after positive November jobs data pared the chances of a February interest rate cut and took the gloss off local equities.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Thursday 18.3 points, or 0.27 per cent, lower at 6,833.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries slipped 14.4 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 6,942.6 points.
A surge in part-time work during November helped the jobless rate tick down to a seasonally adjusted 5.2 per cent, with the better-than-expected data easing market expectations of a rate cut in February.
IG analyst Kyle Rodda said the ABS figures, while not exactly negative news, had weighed the bourse down after an otherwise positive start to the day.
“It’s a classic case of good news being bad news,” Mr Rodda said.
“The chances of a rate cut in February or early next year have faded, so equities are marginally less attractive now than it was before the report.”
The easing of the unemployment rate from 5.3 per cent to 5.2 per cent came after 39,000 jobs were added for the month, with the Aussie dollar climbing to 68.79 US cents from 68.45 US cents on Wednesday.
Economists did note that the improved figures were mostly weighed towards part-time work, and that they failed to hide the fact that progress towards reaching full employment had stalled over the last six months.
On the ASX, only industrials, property trusts, and utilities closed higher as the market gave up what was a broadly positive start.
Healthcare and energy were the worst performing sectors on Thursday, down 1.1 per cent and 0.88 respectively, while tech stocks also receded throughout the day.
WiseTech Global was the only of the WAAAX contingent to close higher, gaining 1.94 per cent to $24.75, while Afterpay, Appen, Altium, and Xero finished between 0.16 and 4.57 per cent lower.
The big four banks were all down, with ANZ edging up 0.56 per cent lower at $24.89, Commonwealth slipping 0.21 per cent to $81.73, NAB down 1.11 per cent to $25.02 and Westpac finishing 0.45 per cent lower at $24.39 after it was fined $9 million over poor financial advice.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank was up 0.81 per cent, Bank of Queensland was up 0.68 per cent and Macquarie Group was up 1.63 per cent.
Among industrials, Transurban was up 1.04 per cent, Aurizon Holdings edged up 0.55 per cent and Qantas rose 1.09 per cent.
Mining giant BHP was down 0.65 per cent to $39.79, Rio Tinto was up 0.02 per cent to $102.26 and Fortescue Metals was up 0.64 per cent to $10.95.
Elsewhere, Prime Media Group was down 5.41 per cent after the regional broadcaster’s shareholders rejected a takeover bid from Seven West Media.
Seven West Media slipped 1.49 per cent after the ACCC said it was concerned that the company’s plans to sell the Pacific Magazines stable to rival Bauer Media would reduce competition.
Seven also acquired a 14.3 per cent stake in Prime after the failed scheme meeting.
Village Roadshow shares surged 21.56 per cent to $3.89 on news it had received a takeover bid worth up to $1 billion from private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners.
Mirvac stocks closed 0.65 per cent higher at $3.22 after announcing its consortium with John Holland will build an $800 million development around a Sydney Metro station in Waterloo.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 18.3 points, or 0.27 per cent, lower at 6,833.1 points.
* The All Ordinaries closed down 14.4 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 6,942.6 points.
* The SPI200 futures index closed down 21 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 6,772.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT
One Australian dollar buys:
* 68.79 US cents, from 68.45 US cents on Wednesday
* 75.39 Japanese yen, from 74.98 yen
* 61.81 euro cents, from 61.52 cents
* 52.57 British pence, from 51.27 pence
* 104.34 NZ cents, unchanged from 104.34 cents.