The Bull

Wednesday 18

October, 2017 3:59 AM



Bank, supermarket weakness keeps ASX flat

Bank, supermarket weakness keeps ASX flat

A one per cent loss for the Commonwealth Bank has absorbed the morning gains and left a deflated local bourse almost flat at the close.

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By AAP 25.09.2017 05:28 PM

The Australian share market has ended a benign day of trade in barley positive territory after shedding earlier gains across energy, mining and banking and a decline in consumer stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed up 0.03 per cent at 5,683.7 points.

A weekend of global events failed to stir the ASX on a soft day of trade, where all major sectors delivered mixed results, Citi global Markets director equities sales Karen Jorritsma said.

With relatively low turnover volumes across the ASX, Ms Jorritsma said investors were largely unmoved by Sunday's German election, ongoing US-North Korea tensions and the falling price of iron ore.

"Its just been a benign day on the stock market and sometimes that can be a good thing," Ms Jorritsma said.

The Commonwealth Bank led the market declines on Monday, following its weekend decision to cancel the unpopular $2 ATM withdrawal fees for customers of other banks - a move quickly copied by other Big Four banks.

"While the Commonwealth Bank was the first to announce the move, shareholders don't give points for cutting fees," Ms Jorritsma said.

"Banks never move in concert, but there is more selling in CBA today which could be down to a number of things, and don't forget CBA has Austrac uncertainty weighing on its price."

CBA finished down 1.1 per cent, or 81 cents, at $75.81, and NAB was flat at $31.28.

Westpac ended 0.7 per cent, or 22 cents ahead, at $31.86 and ANZ closed 0.2 per cent, or six cents, higher at $30.00.

Wesfarmers - owner of Coles supermarkets - and rival Woolworths both lost ground, with Wesfarmers dropping 0.3 per cent to $41.07 and Woolies down 0.6 per cent to $25.19 on reports of an analyst report warning the big retailers faced renewed pressure from cheaper competitors.

Among the miners BHP Billiton and Fortescue were 0.1 and 0.2 per cent higher respectively, while Rio Tinto was down 0.06 per cent, and gold miner Newcrest Mining closed up nine cents at $21.76.

Myer closed 0.7 per cent higher at 72 cents despite criticism from veteran retail investor and major shareholder Solomon Lew, who accused the struggling department store of selling clothing ranges three years out of date.

Mr Lew's Premier Investments posted its full-year results and closed down 2.6 per cent at $13.40, after strong performances in its stationery brand Smiggle and sleepwear chain Peter Alexander helped drive sales revenue for the year to June up four per cent to $1.1 billion.

The resilient Australian dollar defied its improving US counterpart and the falling price of iron ore to begin the week slightly up, trading just below the 80 US cent mark.

At 1700 AEST on Monday, the local currency was trading at 79.59 US cents, up from 79.46 on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 finished up 1.6 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 5,683.7 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 1.1 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 5,741.7 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 2 points or 0.04 per cent at 5,674 points.

* National turnover was 2.8 billion securities traded worth $4.4 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 79.59 US cents, from 79.46 on Friday

* 89.335 Japanese yen, from 88.91 yen

* 66.83 euro cents, from 66.39 euro cents

* 58.77 British pence, from 58.55 pence

* 109.32 NZ cents, from 108.83 cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,291.86 per fine ounce, from $US1,297.67 per fine ounce on Friday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0461pct, from 2.0468pct

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.7438pct, from 2.7429pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.17 (implying a yield of 2.83pct), from 97.175 (2.825pct) on Friday

* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.81 (2.19pct) unchanged

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