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ASX lower as miners drag on market

Derek Rose
The futures market is pointing to a fall for the ASX at the start of trading

The Australian share market has finished lower, ending a lacklustre week on a negative note ahead of a raft of economic data due from China.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 19.6 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 6,696.5 points at 1615 AEST on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 17 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,788.8.

The retreat came despite the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing above 27,000 for the first time ever in the US.

It also came in advance of trade data due Friday night from China, as well as GDP figures and retail figures due on Monday, said Bell Direct market analyst Julia Lee.

Energy shares and financials were the only sectors to close higher - both were up 0.1 per cent - but no sector was down more than 0.76 per cent.

Nearmap was the biggest loser among the ASX200, down 9.5 per cent to $3.34 despite saying it had grown the value of its North American contracts by 76 per cent.

Tech stocks Wisetech Global and Appen both set all-time highs, as did radiology software company Pro Medicus, Ms Lee said.

Logistics software company Wisetech was up 2.4 per cent to $31.19, machine learning dataset company Appen up 0.1 per cent to $30.48 and Pro Medicus up 2.8 per cent to $29.52.

Afterpay was down four per cent to a two-week low of $24.48, however.

Oil Search was the top gainer among the ASX200, up 3.5 per cent to $7.40 after its price target was raised by Morgans and reports it could be a takeover target for Santos.

The mining sector was down 0.6 per cent as a whole, with BHP dropping 0.6 per cent to $40.97 and Rio Tinto down 0.9 per cent to $103.55, but Fortescue Metals was up 0.1 per cent to $8.78.

The big banks were mostly higher, with Commonwealth up 0.3 per cent to $81.52, Westpac up 0.1 per cent to $28.02 and NAB up 0.2 per cent to $27.17, but ANZ dropped 0.2 per cent to $27.27.

Gold miners went backwards, with Newcrest falling one per cent to $31.83, Northern Star down 2.3 per cent to $11.61 and Evolution down 1.4 per cent to $4.37.

Sydney Airport dropped 1.6 per cent to $7.97 after company secretary Jamie Motum resigned and was replaced by corporate counsel Karen Tompkins.

The Aussie dollar is buying 70.00 US cents, from 69.74 US cents on Thursday.

For the week the ASX closed down 0.8 per cent.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 19.6 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 6,696.5 points at 1630 AEST on Friday.

* The All Ordinaries was down 17 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,788.8.

* At 1630 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down 21 points at 6,633.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 70.00 US cents, from 69.74 US cents on Thursday

* 75.85 Japanese yen, from 75.32 yen

* 62.12 euro cents, from 61.88 cents

* 55.82 British pence, from 55.67 pence

* 104.74 NZ cents, from 104.58 cents.