Australia Markets closed

Banks, energy stocks weigh on lower ASX

Trevor Chappell
AAP
1 / 6

The Australian share markets has opened markedly lower

The Australian share markets has opened markedly lower

The Australian share market has closed slightly lower, dragged back by two of the big four banks - ANZ and Westpac - trading ex-dividend.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished the day down 7.6 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 6,021.8 points.

OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said it was no surprise that the market finished lower given the impact the banks have on the bourse because of their sheer size.

"It was an ex-dividend story today - ANZ and Westpac," Mr Le Brun said.

He said the slack was picked up to some extent by the other two major banks - Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank - and global miner BHP Billiton.

"All told, down but not out, and the move to the downside certainly to be expected." Mr Le Brun said.

"The market still appears to be in a positive mood, so it will be interesting to see how it tracks between now and the end of the week but the expectation is there may be further gains in store."

In the banking sector, ANZ fell 82 cents, or 2.7 per cent, to $29.51 and Westpac lost 79 cents, or 2.4 per cent, to $32.45, while Commonwealth Bank rose 0.8 per cent to $81.52 and National Australia Bank added 0.4 per cent to $30.57.

In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton improved 0.7 per cent to $28.28, Rio Tinto lifted 1.1 per cent to $73.75, and Fortescue Metals backtracked 0.2 per cent to $4.85.

The energy sector was mixed as overnight oil prices dipped on news that US oil producers had accelerated their commissioning of US oil rigs in the past week.

Woodside Petroleum reversed one per cent to $32.24, and Santos climbed two per cent to $4.58.

Among other stocks, broadcaster Nine Entertainment nudged up 1.5 cents, or one per cent, to $1.52.

Nine has flagged a better than expected start to the year, with chief executive Hugh Marks saying ad revenue and market share for the network have both performed well.

Elders surged 41 cents, or 7.9 per cent, to $5.60 after the agribusiness company boosted its annual profit and paid shareholders a dividend for the first time since 2008.

Health insurer Medibank Private was steady at $3.16 as it maintained its 2018 outlook at the group's annual general meeting.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar briefly spiked against the US dollar on the release of Australian Bureau of Statistics lending finance data showing falls in home loans and investor loans.

But the local currency had eased to 76.61 US cents at 1630 AEDT, from 76.87 US cents on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 7.6 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 6,021.8 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index ended down 7.1 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 6,097.2 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was up three points, or 0.05 per cent, at 6035 points.

* National turnover was 5.9 billion securities traded worth $5.7 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 76.61 US cents, from 76.87 on Friday

* 86.973 Japanese yen, from 87.21 yen

* 65.73 euro cents, from 66.01 euro cents

* 58.34 British pence, from 58.47 pence

* 110.54 NZ cents, from 110.72 cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,276.905 per fine ounce, from $US1,284.71 per fine ounce on Friday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.8503pct, from 1.8530pct

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.5756pct, from 2.5490pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.36 (implying a yield of 2.64pct), from 97.365 (implying a yield of 2.635pct) on Friday

* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.03 (1.97pct), unchanged

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