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S&P/ASX200 is back below 6,000 points

 

The Australian share market is lower at midday amid broad-based losses, with the S&P/ASX200 index back below the 6,000-point mark it broke through last week.

At 1200 AEDT the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 0.97 per cent, at 5,963.3 points, with all sectors lower bar information technology.

The S&P/ASX200 had been trading above 6,000 points since breaking through the barrier on November 7, the first time it had done so since 2008.

But the index was weighed down on Tuesday, particularly on the back of heavy losses in energy stocks despite oil prices holding steady overnight.

Woodside Petroleum was down 3.3 per cent at $31.17, Oil Search was 2.9 per cent weaker at $7.21 and Santos had retreated 2.4 per cent to $4.47.

Miners were also weaker, with BHP Billiton down 1.3 per cent at $27.91 while Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals each fell one per cent to $73.01 and $4.80, respectively.

The banking sector's falls were modest in comparison, with National Australia Bank the worst performer among the big four banks, down 1.28 per cent at $30.18.

But the info technology sector was stronger, thanks to a boost in Computershare, which was up more than four per cent at $15.80, after the company upgraded its forecast for earnings per share in 2017/18.

Incitec Pivot was also higher, up 5.6 per cent at $3.95, after the fertiliser and explosives maker more than doubled its annual profit, while Ruralco received a 2.1 per cent boost to 2.95 after making a record annual profit.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is weaker, trading at 76.25 US cents at 1200 AEDT, from 76.61 US cents on Monday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 58.4 points, or 0.97 per cent, at 5,963.4 points at 1200 AEDT.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 53.4 points, or 0.88 per cent, at 6,043.8 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was down 62 points, or 1.03 per cent, at 5,972 points.

* National turnover was 3.2 billion securities traded worth $5.5 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 76.25 US cents, from 76.61 US cents on Monday

* 86.67 Japanese yen, from 86.973 yen

* 65.34 euro cents, from 65.73 euro cents

* 58.13 British pence, from 58.34 pence

* 110.67 NZ cents, from 110.54 NZ cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,277.24 per fine ounce, from $US1,276.905 per fine ounce on Monday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.8882pct, from 1.8503pct

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6055pct, from 2.5756pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.33 (implying a yield of 2.67pct), from 97.36 (2.64pct) on Monday

* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.0 (2.0pct), from 98.03 (1.97pct).

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