SYDNEY, AAP – Consumer shares and financials were weighing on the Australian market as about half the population endures a coronavirus lockdown.
Consumer discretionaries were the worst performing category, down more than one per cent, on the first day of the financial year.
Consumer staples were lower by 0.78 per cent, while the heavyweight financials category had the same decline.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down by 24.9 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 7288.1 at 1200 AEST.
The index started the week on 7309.5 points and has hardly moved.
Coronavirus lockdowns continue in Queensland, the Northern Territory, NSW and Western Australia after the coronavirus’ Delta variant spread across the country.
The All Ordinaries on Thursday was lower by 22.3 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 7562.7.
In the US, the S&P 500 eked out its fifth straight record closing high as investors ended the quarter with positive economic data.
The private sector added 692,000 jobs in June, breezing past expectations, according to payroll processor ADP.
The blue-chip Dow posted gains while the Nasdaq edged lower.
Westpac analysts noted the US dollar climbed higher and said it may be due to expectations of a strong payrolls report at the end of the week.
Australia’s trade surplus grew to $9.68 billion in May, a shade smaller than the record $9.75 billion set in March 2020.
Exports grew by three per cent in the months, and were only partially offset by a three per cent increase in imports.
The ABS also reported that job vacancies in the May quarter were 57 per cent higher than their pre-COVID-19 level.
On the ASX, luxury goods retailer Cettire may capitalise on people shopping from home by offering childrens clothes.
The company flagged the move earlier this year and has started selling.
More than 6,000 childrens products are being offered to people in more than 50 countries.
Shares were higher by 6.06 per cent to $2.80.
Magellan Asset Management wants to make the most of the popularity of exchange-traded funds and convert its listed investment trust.
Magellan boss Brett Cairns said making the trust, called High Conviction, an ETF would be in investors’ best interests.
Investors must approve the proposal.
Shares were higher by 6.07 per cent to $1.66.
Gold miners were one of the better parts of the market.
Northern Star climbed almost three per cent to $10.07.
Evolution gained 2.22 per cent to $4.60.
Materials shares were one of few industry categories doing better and rose 0.37 per cent.
Iron ore specialist Fortescue was best of the big three miners and gained 1.11 per cent to $23.60.
In banking, Bank of Queensland is due to complete its $1.32 billion purchase of ME Bank today.
Shares in Bank of Queensland were lower by 1.31 per cent to $8.99.
All of the big four banks traded lower. The Commonwealth had the biggest drop, 1.06 per cent, and last traded at $98.81.
The Australian dollar was buying 74.90 US cents at 1200 AEST, lower from 75.20 US cents at Wednesday’s close.