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Banks and miners drag market lower

Petrina Berry
AAP
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The Australian market has opened substantially lower, ignoring the Dow's strong performance

The Australian market has opened substantially lower, ignoring the Dow's strong performance

The share market has lost ground as falls in the heavyweight financial, mining and health care sectors outweighed a good session for retailers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index dropped 0.2 per cent, as the only sectors to gain value were the retailers, telcos and utilities.

The big four banks have been a weight on the market ever since the announcement of a banking royal commission, optionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said.

"Couple that with weakness in the materials and health care sectors and the market will fall," he said.

Westpac was the weakest of the banks, dropping 1.1 per cent to $30.83, while ANZ shed one per cent to $28.05, National Australia Bank declined 0.4 per cent to $29.36 and Commonwealth Bank was 0.2 per cent weaker at $78.74.

Mining stocks were also lower, with Rio Tinto down 2.1 per cent and BHP Billiton 0.1 per cent weaker, despite a rise in the iron ore price.

"But it has been a positive day for Telstra and for the consumer discretionaries which have been on the outer for some time ahead of Amazon's launch," Mr Le Brun said.

Amazon's softer-than-expected Australia launch, which did not feature the aggressive discounts that were expected, boosted sentiment, he said.

Retail spending growth of 0.5 per cent in October also proved better-than-expected.

JB Hi-Fi gained 6.8 per cent to $25.73, Harvey Norman climbed 6.3 per cent to $4.25, department store chain Myer rose 1.3 per cent to 78 cents and Supercheap Auto owner Super Retail Group was 3.1 per cent stronger at $8.24.

Telstra hit a two-month high - up 3.1 per cent to $3.61 - after analysts upgraded the telco to a buy rating, saying the temporary halt of the rollout of the national broadband network will be "modestly financially positive".

The Australian dollar was boosted by the retail sales data, hitting a three week high of 76.54 US cents in afternoon trade.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 13.9 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 5,971.7 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 13.8 points, or 0.23 per cent, at 6,056.8 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was down 18 point, or 0.3 per cent, at 5,978 points.

* National turnover was 5.5 billion securities traded worth $6.8 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 76.48 US cents, from 75.97 US cents on Monday

* 86.10 Japanese yen, from 85.695 yen

* 64.44 euro cents, from 64.01 euro cents

* 56.77 British pence, from 56.43 pence

* 110.95 NZ cents, from 110.94 NZ cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,275.87 per fine ounce, from $US1,274.43 per fine ounce on Monday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9154pct, from 1.8552pct on Monday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.5579pct, from 2.5042pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.385 (implying a yield of 2.615pct), from 97.44 (2.56pct) on Monday

* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.975 (2.025pct), from 98.035 (1.965pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)

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