Profit taking sends share market lower

Christian Edwards
(Australian Associated Press)

The share market lost ground due to significant falls by healthcare and energy stocks and weakness in the materials and industrial sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index dropped 0.4 per cent to 5,945.7 points.

Citi director of equity Karen Jorritsma said some investors were moving out of resources and energy companies after the materials sector peaked in November at an almost five year high.

“While there has been some support for the banks today, we are seeing significant profit taking in the big mining and energy stocks,” Ms Jorritsma said.

“There’s no underlying softness, but investors have recognised value in the solid run of companies like Origin Energy and South32.”

Origin Energy dropped 2.3 per cent, and its energy sector peers were also lower, with Santos shedding 2.4 per cent, Oil Search falling one per cent and Woodside Petroleum down 0.25 per cent.

Among the miners, Rio Tinto fell 2.5 per cent, BHP BIlliton shed two per cent and South32 was 4.1 per cent weaker.

Incitec Pivot dropped 1.8 per cent after informing the market that its 2020 and 2021 full year profits will be hit by the end of a supply contract with BHP Billiton.

Blood products maker CSL was another major stock to lose ground, dropping 2.1 per cent.

The major lenders were mixed, with Commonwealth Bank falling 0.2 per cent, while ANZ gained 0.7 per cent, Westpac rose 0.5 per cent and National Australia Bank was 0.3 per cent stronger.

TPG Telecom gained 1.3 per cent to $6.11 after chairman David Teoh expressed confidence in the telco’s mobile and fixed-line projects at the company’s annual general meeting.

Telstra also climbed, adding 0.6 per cent to $3.63.

The Australian dollar fell back below 76 US cents as September quarter economic growth of 0.6 per cent, for an annual growth rate of 2.8 per cent, proved slightly weaker than expected.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index was down 26.1 points, or 0.44 per cent, at 5,945.7 points at 1630 AEDT.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 27.4 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 6,029.9 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was down 30 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 5,950 points.

* National turnover was 5.3 billion securities traded worth $6.4 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 75.84 US cents, from 76.48 US cents on Tuesday

* 84.99 Japanese yen, from 86.10 yen

* 64.03 euro cents, from 64.44 euro cents

* 56.46 British pence, from 56.77 pence

* 109.78 NZ cents, from 110.95 NZ cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,267.45 per fine ounce, from $US1,275.87 per fine ounce on Tuesday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.8527pct, from 1.9154pct

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.4701pct, from 2.5579pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.475 (implying a yield of 2.525pct), from 97.385 (2.615pct) on Tuesday

* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.04 (1.96pct), from 97.975 (2.025pct).

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

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