(Australian Associated Press)
The Australian share market has fallen across most sectors as investors apparently looked to book profits after recent gains, while the dollar has hit a 15-month high.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed Wednesday down 81.2 points, or 1.32 per cent, at 6,075.1 points, while the All Ordinaries index finished down 76.2 points, or 1.22 per cent lower, at 6,192.6.
“We’ve had a shocker,” said CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy, who noted the market had seemed set up nicely following Tuesday’s “phenomenal” 2.6 per cent rally.
“It looks like yesterday’s gains were fluid and easily reversed,” Mr McCarthy said.
While goldminers shone as the price of the precious metal hit a new 11-year high, the “pressure on the rest of the market was remarkable”.
With reporting season around the corner, traders may have been taking profits following Tuesday’s gains, Mr McCarthy said.
Meanwhile the Australian dollar was buying over 71.50 US cents for the first time since April 2019, having risen nearly 30 per cent since hitting a 17-year low in March.
A surge in commodity prices have boosted the Australian dollar, while optimism about a coronavirus vaccine have reduced the greenback’s safe-harbour appeal.
CSL was the biggest drag on the share market on Wednesday, dropping 3.6 per cent to $282.72 in its worst single-day loss since May 29.
Mining giant BHP fell 3.4 per cent to $37.50, Rio Tinto declined 1.5 per cent to $104.48 and Fortescue Metals dipped 1.9 per cent to $16.42.
Goldminers Newcrest, Evolution and Northern Star were up between 0.6 per cent and 1.3 per cent, while Resolute Mining soared 12.9 per cent to $1.40 after reporting strong production from its Syama Gold Mine in Mali.
Copper miner OZ Minerals rose 4.2 per cent to $13.53 after upgrading its production guidance following a strong first half at both its Prominent Hill and Carrapateena mines in SA.
Tech stocks suffered, collectively falling 2.4 per cent following Tuesday’s 5.7 per cent rally.
Afterpay dropped 3.4 per cent to $72.50, Wisetech Global fell 3.9 per cent to $21.26 and Altium dipped 2.8 per cent to $33.94.
The big banks were all lower, with CBA down 0.4 per cent to $74.13, NAB down 0.8 per cent to $18.11 and ANZ and Westpac both dipping 0.6 per cent, to $18.61 and $18.01, respectively.
However, shares in QBE gained 1.7 per cent to $9.83 after the insurance giant flagged a half-year net loss after tax of $1.1 billion, mainly due to COVID-19, higher catastrophe and accident claims and a loss on its investment portfolio.
Energy was the only sector to gain, following a rise in Brent crude prices, with Woodside up 1.3 per cent and Santos gaining 2.3 per cent.
Beach Energy shares jumped 4.7 per cent to $1.555 after announcing its full-year earnings and oil production will be close to previous guidance, despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices.
Baby Bunting soared 11.1 per cent to $3.50 after reporting full-year earnings were up 22 to 25 per cent from the past year.
ON THE ASX
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Wednesday closed down 81.2 points, or 1.32 per cent, at 6,075.1 points
* The All Ordinaries closed down 76.2 points, or 1.22 per cent, at 6,192.6 points
* At 1723 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up two points, or 0.05 per cent, at 6,044 points
One Australian dollar buys:
* 71.59 US cents, from 70.56 US cents on Tuesday
* 74.49 Japanese yen, from 75.68 yen
* 62.05 euro cents, from 61.66 cents
* 56.38 British pence, from 55.61 pence
* 107.36 NZ cents, from 107.15 cents.