Aust shares weaker after choppy US session

Trevor Chappell
(Australian Associated Press)

The Australian share market is almost one per cent lower due to weakness in most sectors, following a tepid lead from the United States.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 0.8 per cent at 5,913.2 points at 1200 AEDT, after climbing 1.1 per cent on Tuesday.

Trade was choppy on Wall Street overnight, as investors wait for developments with US President Donald Trump’s plans for tariffs on aluminium and steel.

Locally, the big miners have eased after another fall in the price of iron ore, amid concerns about the proposed US tariffs hurting global demand for steel.

BHP Billiton was down 0.7 per cent, Rio Tinto was down one per cent and Fortescue Metals was 2.2 per cent weaker.

The big four banks were also weaker, with NAB and Westpac the worst performers with falls of around 1.5 per cent.

Energy stocks are lower despite a rise in oil prices, with Oil Search down 1.9 per cent, Santos down 1.6 per cent and Woodside Petroleum 0.3 per cent weaker.

The Australian dollar is relatively steady against the US dollar, after December quarter economic growth of 0.4 per cent, for an annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent, met market expectations.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 49.2 points, or 0.83 per cent, at 5,913.2 points at 1200 AEDT

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 47.4 points, or 078 per cent, at 6,014.1 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was down 54 points, or 0.91 per cent, at 5,900 points

* National turnover was 1.03 billion securities traded worth $1.45 billion

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 77.85 US cents, from 77.74 US on Tuesday

* 82.27 Japanese yen, from 82.57 yen

* 62.71 euro cents, from 62.95 euro cents

* 56.03 British pence, from 56.15 pence

* 106.84 NZ cents, from 107.34 NZ cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,335.88 per fine ounce, from $US1,322.95 per fine ounce on Tuesday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9721pct, from 2.0103pct, on Tuesday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.7346pct, from 2.7624pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.22 (implying a yield of 2.78pct), from 97.195 (2.805pct) on Tuesday

* March 2018 three-year bond futures contract at 97.91 (2.09pct), from 97.88 (2.12pct).

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

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