Australia Markets closed

ASX in flat finish to gloomy week

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

The Australian share market has finished nearly flat as declines in the energy and mining sectors outweighed gains by the big banks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Friday down 2.6 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 6,405.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was finished down 4.9 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 6,485.9 points.

The 178 points, or 2.7 per cent, loss for the week was the ASX200's second-worst for the year - exceeded only by last week's 184-point loss.

"Should nothing change in a fortnight this will be the worst month since October of last year," said CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian.

The financial sector was the biggest gainer, up 0.7 per cent, with Commonwealth Bank up 1.0 per cent to $75.12, Westpac up 0.8 per cent to $27.82, ANZ up 0.6 per cent to $26.39 and NAB up 0.9 per cent to $27.03.

The heavyweight mining sector fell 0.7 per cent, with BHP falling 0.6 per cent to $36.17 and Rio Tinto down one per cent to $84.72 while Fortescue Metals gained 2.1 per cent to $7.66.

Australia's biggest gold miner, Newcrest, was down 1.4 per cent to $36.26 despite announcing it had made $US561 million ($A826m) in full-year profit, its best results since 2012.

Newcrest's Cadia gold mine 250km west of Sydney had record production at record low cost, and is now has the lowest production cost of any major gold mine, Mr Daghlian said.

The energy sector was down 0.9 per cent as a whole, with Oil Search down 3.7 per cent to $6.31 after Papua New Guinea officials said reopened negotiations with Oil Search's joint venture partner Total SA on sharing natural gas revenues could end "disastrously".

oOh!media shares plunged 27.5 per cent to a five-year low of $2.93 after the outdoor advertiser blamed poor media advertising spend for a cut to its full-year earnings guidance.

Whitehaven Coal fell 5.3 per cent to $3.2 after announcing its full-year profit was up 0.6 per cent to $527.9 million.

Credit Corp gained 13.3 per cent to a three-week high of $27.27 after buying fellow debt collector Baycorp Holdings from Encore Capital Group for $65 million.

Domain Holdings rose 2.1 per cent to $2.93 after the domain.com.au owner's underlying profit increased 59 per cent to $37.4 million.

Rebel Sports owner Super Retail Group rose 7.9 per cent to $9.75 after broker upgrades following Thursday's earnings results.

Furniture retailer Nick Scali rose 2.2 per cent to $6.54 after reporting a 2.8 per cent rise in full-year profit, to $42.1 million.

Star Entertainment Group rose 5.9 per cent to $3.79 after announcing statutory profit was up 33.7 per cent to $198 million, in part because gamblers had been unlucky at the tables.

The Aussie dollar is buying 67.83 US cents, unchanged from Thursday.

Looking forward, it will be busy next week, with numerous companies reporting earnings including BHP, A2 Milk, Origin Energy and Qantas.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 2.6 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 6,405.5

* The All Ordinaries closed down 4.9 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 6,485.9

* The SPI200 futures index closed down 20 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 6.354.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.83 US cents, unchanged from Thursday

* 72.04 Japanese yen, from 71.75 yen

* 61.13 euro cents, from 60.83 cents

* 55.99 British pence, from 56.25 pence

* 105.43 NZ cents, from 105.28 cents.