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ASX drops again, finishes week down 2.3pct

·3-min read

The local share bourse has sunk again as markets digest the likelihood of the central bank maintaining its aggressive campaign of interest rate hikes.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday closed down 103.8 points, or 1.5 per cent, to an eight-day low of 6739.1.

The broader All Ordinaries finished 107.3 points lower, or 1.52 per cent, at 6975.2.

For the week the ASX200 fell 2.25 per cent, its third week of declines in the past four weeks.

The drop came as stronger-than-expected US retail sales data for August released overnight gave the US Federal Reserve the green light to hike rates aggressively next week, and as Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe gave hawkish testimony in Canberra.

"(At) the 2.35 (per cent), I think the (cash) rate is still too low," Mr Lowe told the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics.

"It's a negative catalyst for the market's confidence as to what we can expect in three weeks' time," IG Australia market analyst Hebe Chen told AAP.

"The Australian market is pretty likely to see another 50 basis point rise, and that will be even higher in the US case," with a 75 basis point hike likely next week, or perhaps even a 100 point one, Ms Chen said.

Every sector was lower, with energy down close to 3.0 per cent as the US avoided a devastating rail strike that would have crippled deliveries of home heating fuel across the country.

Woodside fell 2.9 per cent to $32.74, Santos dropped 2.4 per cent to $7.77 and Whitehaven Coal retreated 2.7 per cent to $8.63.

Miners also saw losses across the sector. Lithium miner Pilbara declined 2.1 per cent to $4.59, Mineral Resources dropped 5.2 per cent to $66.39, and Allkem fell 4.0 per cent to $15.07.

The iron ore behemoths also fell with BHP sinking 1.9 per cent to $38.01, Rio Tinto dropping 2.3 per cent to $92.45 and Fortescue Metals subtracting 1.7 per cent to $17.62.

Goldminers also had a tough day, as the price of the yellow metal fell two per cent to a more than two-year low of $US1661. As a non-yield-bearing asset, gold has been under pressure as interest rates rise.

Newcrest fell 2.8 per cent to a more than five-year low of $16.63, Northern Star dropped 4.2 per cent to $7.40 and Evolution retreated 5.2 per cent to a five-year low of $2.03.

The heavyweight financial sector dropped 0.8 per cent, but NAB managed to stay in the green, rising 0.5 per cent to $29.96.

Westpac was basically flat at $21.53, ANZ fell 0.8 per cent to $23.55 and CBA dropped 0.9 per cent to $94.23.

Technology fared the best with a 0.6 per cent drop overall, buoyed in part by share registry platform Computershare, which gained 4.4 per cent.

The Australian dollar, meanwhile, slid under 67 US cents for the first time since June 2020.

It was buying 66.75 US cents, from 67.16 US cents at Thursday's close.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday dropped 103.8 points to 6739.1, a 1.5 per cent fall.

* The broader All Ordinaries retreated 107.3 points, or 1.52 per cent, to 6975.2.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 66.75 US cents, from 67.56 US cents at Thursday's close

* 95.75 Japanese yen, from 97.06 yen

* 67.11 Euro cents, from 67.83 cents

* 58.75 British pence, from 58.64 pence

* 112.19 NZ cents, from 112.54 cents.