New Zealand Markets closed

Banks outweigh miners to push ASX lower

Declines from the heavyweight banks and health care companies have partly offset strong gains from the miners and energy players to send the Australian share market lower.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 finished Monday 0.17 per cent lower at 5,755.5 points with financial, health care, retail and telecommunication stocks all dragging the index lower.

Patersons Securities economist Tony Farnham said much-anticipated Chinese economic figures released at midday were not strong enough to lift the local market.

"The monthly figures were a bit better than expected but it was not enough to get too excited about," Mr Farnham said.

"It was confirmation of a soft landing for China with a six per cent target for the year still very much in tact."

China's annual gross domestic product growth rate came in at 6.9 per cent, against expectations of 6.8 per cent, while urban investment in June remained steady and factory output and retail sales surpassed expectations.

The figures also did little for the Australian dollar which was already trading strongly thanks to a weak US greenback, easyMarkets chief market strategist Tony Darvall said.

"The Chinese data was not strong enough to drive it higher and there are other things going on that are not so good, including signs China may crack down on some of its stimulus," he said.

Mr Darvall said weak US economic data on Friday has reduced the market's expectations of further Federal Reserve rate hike this year which has led to a fall in the greenback and a rise in other currencies, including the Aussie, Kiwi and Canadian dollars.

The Australian dollar was trading at 78.10 US cents compared to 77.55 US cents on Friday.

On the share market, energy companies and the miners were well-supported following strong commodity prices while the banking sector slipped 0.4 per cent.

Mr Farnham said investors were waiting for the banking regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, to announce its new capital reserve measures this week.

Iron ore prices rose to $US65.50 a tonne overnight, helping pure iron-ore miner Fortescue Metals jump 1.9 per cent to $5.37, BHP Billiton lift 0.16 per cent to $25.17 and Rio Tinto gain 0.6 per cent to $65.92.

Global oil prices have gained more than one per cent amid a slackening in US inventories and signs of increased Chinese demand.

Energy giant Woodside Petroleum lifted 0.8 per cent to $30.28 and Santos climbed 2.7 per cent to $3.07.

In company news, infant milk supplier Bellamy's has offered to refund investors who took part in its recent capital raising.

Bellamy's shares haven been suspended since July 7 while the company deals with China's suspension of the company's Camperdown food licence.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed down 9.6 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 5,755.5 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index closed down 7.9 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 5,800.8 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was up seven points, or 0.12 per cent, at 5,697 points.

* National turnover was 1.96 billion securities traded, worth $3.9 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT

CURRENCY ASK BID PREVIOUS

AUD/USD 0.7809 0.7807 0.7828

AUD/JPY 87.97 87.92 88.01

AUD/EUR 0.6818 0.6815 0.6821

AUD/NZD 1.0658 1.0654 1.0641

AUD/GBP 0.5963 0.596 0.5974

GOLD:

The spot price of gold at 1700 AEST was $US1,229.98 per fine ounce, from $US1,216.70 per fine ounce on Friday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.916pct, from 1.9067pct on Friday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6756pct, from 2.6613pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* September 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.27 (implying a yield of 2.73pct) from 97.280 (2.720pct), unchanged.

* September 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.0 (2.0pct) from 98.010 (1.990pct)

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session)