Key earnings send Aust stocks down

The Australian share market has lost ground as investors sell out from key resources stocks on the back of global miner Rio Tinto's profit results.

Yet, the local bourse continues to rally above 5,000 points for a third straight day.

At 1200 AEDT on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 9.8 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 5,027.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 9.9 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5,047.3 points.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was down eight points at 4,986 points, with 12,286 contracts traded.

BBY institutional dealer Anson Rosewall said the market had been weighed down by news that Rio suffered a full year net loss of almost $US3 billion ($A2.91 billion) in 2012.

The mining giant was dragged into the red after making $US14 million ($A13.59 million) of writedowns, while its underlying profit fell 40 per cent.

"I think Rio's results has taken the wind out of the sails of the market, particularly in the resources space," Mr Rosewall said.

"I think the run we've seen of late has been quite strong and there's been a lot of conviction and money coming back into the market.

"But, at the end of day, you need to see some consolidation before you can see the kind of gains that we have seen of late continue."

Rio's shares fell $1.66, or 2.3 per cent, to $70.41.

Fellow miner BHP Billiton was also down, losing 27 cents to $38.62, while Fortescue Metals Group shed 11.5 cents to $5.275.

ANZ was the biggest loser among the major banks, with its stocks dropping 21 cents, or 0.75 per cent, to $27.85 after it said its first quarter net profit had dropped by nearly a fifth to $1.36 billion.

However, the bank's unaudited underlying cash profit for the quarter rose 6.25 per cent, to $1.53 billion from $1.44 billion.

Meanwhile, CBA was up 15 cents at $67.05, Westpac rose 16 cents to $28.92, and NAB gained 26 cents to $29.61.

Also making news, salmon farmer Tassal Group reported a 22.1 per cent jump in half year net profit to $15.83 million. Its shares rose five cents to $1.765.

Mr Rosewell said with volumes low across the market he expected relatively soft trading for the rest of Friday's local session.

At 1215 AEDT, national turnover was 808.02 million securities worth $1.61 billion.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9292+0.0005+0.05%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.55350.00+0.01%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6720-0.0001-0.01%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg