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Monday 25

March, 201912:28 AM



ASX flat as major miners, banks retreat

ASX flat as major miners, banks retreat

Mining shares and three of the four big banks dragged down the rest of the ASX on the last day of the trading week.

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By AAP 15.03.2019 05:01 PM

Australian shares have closed the week marginally lower after a seesaw day.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 4.4 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 6175.2 points at 1615 AEDT on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 1.7 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6265.1.

"It's lacklustre, jumping in and out of positive and negative territory," said Evan Lucas, chief market strategist at InvestSMART in Melbourne.

For the week the ASX closed 0.46 per cent lower, after three weeks of gains.

The mining sector led decliners, collectively closing 1.03 per cent lower after copper prices dropped overnight when industrial output in top metals consumer China fell to a 17-year low.

BHP was down 1.83 per cent, Fortescue Metals down 1.22 per cent and Rio Tinto down 0.13 per cent.

A dip in the gold price overnight left miners of the yellow metal in the dumps, with Newcrest down 1.90 per cent, Northern Star down 3.63 per cent and Evolution Mining down 1.62 per cent.

Elsewhere, the big four banks were mostly down, with only NAB edging up 0.56 per cent.

ANZ was down 1.01 per cent, Commonwealth Bank down 0.85 per cent and Westpac down 0.45 per cent.

Industrial stocks were the biggest gainers, up a collective 0.74 per cent. Earthmoving equipment rental company Emeco Holdings was the biggest gainer on the ASX, up 6.4 per cent to $2.16, a two-week high.

Retail Food Group was down 13.51 per cent at a fresh all-time low of 16 cents after a parliamentary inquiry on Thursday recommended it be investigated by a trio of regulators.

Chinese-focused retailer AuMake was up five per cent after it announced it had added four new stores in Australia and New Zealand.

Santos was up one per cent, Woodside Petroleum up 0.86 per cent and Beach Energy up 0.48 per cent after Brent crude hit a four-month peak of $US68.14 a barrel.

Mr Lucas said it was interesting the oil producers hadn't seen a bigger bump, and it indicated the markets had already priced in higher crude prices.

He also noted that bond yields have been falling even as the ASX200 has been rising, indicating people are buying bonds. On Friday Australian 10-year bond bond rates rose 0.25 per cent, while five-year rose 0.71 per cent

"The bond market is suggesting risk on the horizon," Mr Lucas said, yet equities are still rising. "Who's right?"

The Aussie dollar is buying 70.84 US cents, from 70.62 US cents on Thursday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 4.4 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 6,175.2 points at 1630 AEDT on Thursday.

* The All Ordinaries was up 1.7 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6,265.1.

* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 25 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 6187.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 70.84 US cents, from 70.62 US on Thursday

* 79.12 Japanese yen, from 78.79

* 62.60 euro cents, from 62.39

* 53.50 British pence, from 53.31

* 103.44 NZ cents, from 103.25

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1298.77 per fine ounce, from $US1296.20 on Thursday.

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