Australia Markets closed

Late slide on ASX as $A plunges

Peter Trute and Aaron Saldanha
The ASX has given up most of Thursday's gains with a late plunge on Friday

Australian shares have suffered a late slide with energy and materials stocks falling, while the Aussie dollar has hit its lowest level since January, 2017, as worries about eurozone bank stability trigger a risk-off flight to the greenback.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 19.3 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 6,278.4 points on Friday while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 16.8 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 6,366.8 points.

In futures trade the SPI200 Futures Index was down 20 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 6,219 points.

For the week the S&P/ASX200 gained 0.7 per cent.

The Australian dollar was at 73.17 US cents at 1700 AEST, down from 74.31 US cents on Thursday to a 19-month low as investors flocked to the safe-haven US dollar.

NAB head of FX strategy Ray Attrill said the Aussie's punishment was fallout from a global risk-off rush to the greenback triggered by a report that eurozone banks could be overly exposed to the tumbling Turkish lira.

The Turkish lira hit an all-time low on Friday after a meeting the day before between a Turkish delegation and US officials in Washington yielded no apparent solution to a diplomatic rift over the detention in Turkey of a US pastor.

A report in the Financial Times on Friday afternoon flagged concerns about the exposure of EU banks to Turkish debt.

On the ASX on Friday, the energy index lost 1.8 per cent with crude prices pressured by worries over demand fuelled by China-US trade dispute concerns.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures were trading at $US71.91 per barrel at 1707 AEST, down 0.22 per cent from their last close.

Beach Energy dropped 3.5 per cent to $1.92 and led losses on the energy sector.

With reporting season ending its first week, baby goods retailer Baby Bunting soared 38.5 per cent to $2.41 after flagging improved trading in 2018/19 despite a 29 per cent drop in full-year profit.

Online real estate giant REA Group lifted 3.6 per cent to $85.30 after showing a 23 per cent lift in full-year net profit to $280 million.

James Hardie shares dropped 6.6 per cent to $21.70 as the building supplies group gave guidance for its 2018/19 adjusted operating profit below the average of analyst expectations.

"With rising (US) interest rates, it is going to get harder for them going forward and so the market is reading into that," said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 19.3 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 6,278.4 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 16.8 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 6,366.8 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was down 21 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 6,218 points at 1630 AEST.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 73.17 US cents, from 74.31 US cents on Thursday

* 81.217 Japanese yen, from 82.503

* 63.83 euro cents, from 64.04

* 57.22 British pence, from 57.72

* 110.94 NZ cents, from 111.55

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US per fine ounce, down from $US1,213.848 per fine ounce on Thursday.