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Miners weigh on Aust share market

 

The Australian share market has closed modestly lower, largely due to losses from the heavyweight mining sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 12.2 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 5,868.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 12 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 5,964.4 points.

The miners led losses partly due to lower base metal prices which dropped overnight after the US dollar rose.

The best performer was the energy sector, while other sectors under pressure included the telecommunications and utilities and the slightly weaker heavyweight financials.

Shaw & Partners senior private client adviser Craig Sidney said the miners were coming off strong recent gains.

"There is a bit of profit taking across the resources space because they have been particularly strong," he said.

"But it is nothing significant. We remain positive on the resource sector and feel there is more upside to come."

Mr Sidney said shares in the major banks were largely flat with most of the pressure coming from the fund managers in light of AMP's admissions to the banking royal commission.

Global miner BHP Billiton was down six cents, or 0.2 per cent, at $30.86, Rio Tinto declined 89 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $80.53, and Fortescue Metals dropped eight cents, or 1.7 per cent, to $4.63.

In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum advanced 36 cents, or 1.2 per cent, to $31.42, Santos was flat at $6.00 and Oil Search improved seven cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $7.84.

A rise in US 10-year Treasury yields helped bank stocks on Wall Street overnight, which helped ease the pressure on Australian banks flowing from the hearings of the royal commission into the financial sector.

Westpac and ANZ were both flat, while the Commonwealth Bank shed 34 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $72.06 and National Australia Bank lifted four cents, or 0.1 per cent, to $28.37.

NAB has flagged $755 million of pre-tax restructuring costs, putting the hit close to the upper end of its first-half guidance.

Wealth management giant AMP was down two cents, or 0.5 per cent, at $4.30 after the company's chief executive Craig Meller quit.

Mr Meller's resignation follows AMP's admission to the financial services royal commission that it charged clients for advice they never received and then lied to the corporate watchdog about it.

Fund manager Perpetual dropped 58 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $39.23.

A better performer was Sydney Airport which gained three cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $6.56 after it reported a record 11.1 million travellers passed through Sydney's airport in the March quarter.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was lower against the US dollar after the release of disappointing local jobs figures on Thursday.

Traders also sold the British pound, the Australian dollar, the Canadian dollar and the Kiwi after Bank of England governor Mark Carney said a hike in interest rates was not a foregone conclusion.

At 1700 AEST, the local currency was worth 77.09 US cents, from 78.01 US cents on Thursday.

Looking ahead, markets will watch closely oil production cut talks between the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC nations on Friday night.

ON THE ASX AT THE CLOSE:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 12.2 points, or 0.21 per cent, at 5,868.8 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 12 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 5,964.4 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was down five points, or 0.09 per cent, at 5,849 points

* National turnover was 2.1 billion securities traded worth $3.7 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 77.09 US cents, from 78.01 on Thursday

* 82.91 Japanese yen, from 83.77 yen

* 62.49 euro cents, from 63.01 euro cents

* 54.85 British pence, from 54.93 pence

* 106.55 NZ cents, from 106.50 cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,344.50 per fine ounce, from $US1,353.40 per fine ounce on Thursday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.103pct, 2.1125pct on Thursday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.773pct, from 2.752pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.180 (implying a yield of 2.82pct), from 97.205 (2.795pct) on Thursday

* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was steady at 97.730 (2.27pct).

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