Energy and resources shares drag on ASX

James Hall
(Australian Associated Press)


The Australian share market’s weak October trend has continued with lower commodity prices weighing on the indices.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 14.1 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 5829.0 points on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 0.31 per cent.

October is typically a productive month for the ASX due to the distribution of dividends, said CommSec chief market analyst Steven Daghlian, but the market is down 6.1 per cent so far and on track for its worst month in more than three years.

“We’ve been at the mercy of things happening outside our control and outside of Australia,” he said.

“The European Commission rejected Italy’s budget plans yesterday, in China there are concerns about growth and the relationship with the US, the US market has been in a little bit of a slump for two weeks.”

Energy had a sector-wide loss of more than two per cent after oil prices plunged to two-month lows overnight amid a sell-off in global equity markets and worries about demand growth.

Oil Search and Origin Energy were down nearly two and 3.4 per cent each, while gas producer Santos slipped 2.5 per cent, Woodside Petroleum was down 1.3 per cent and Caltex fell 1.6 per cent.

The materials sector weighed heavily for a consecutive session despite an overnight rise in iron ore, with mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP down 0.9 and 2.2 per cent respectively, while Fortescue Metals, Bluescope Steel and South32 remained in the red.

Gold stocks, however, pushed ahead with Saracen Mineral and Regis Resources both up more than five per cent each.

The financial sector was up 0.1 per cent for the day, with NAB the only of the big four banks to close marginally lower at $25.16, and Westpac gaining 0.7 per cent to $26.50.

Biotech giant Cochlear climbed three per cent, helping lift the healthcare sector into the black.

The Australian dollar is fighting a rearguard action as a shakeout in world stock markets sent investors to the shelter of the Japanese yen and US Treasuries.

The Aussie was buying 70.99 US cents at 1630 AEDT, from 70.65 US cents on Tuesday.

Looking ahead, there will be a focus on profit results out of the US with Microsoft, Visa, Amazon and Boeing releasing earnings in the next two sessions, Mr Daghlian said.


* The S&P/ASX200 closed down 14.1 points, or 0.24 per cent, at 5829.0 points

* The All Ordinaries closed down 18.4 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 5926.5 points

* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 23 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 5792.0 points.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 70.99 US cents, from 70.65 US cents on Tuesday

* 79.91 Japanese yen, from 79.52

* 61.90 euro cents, from 61.67

* 54.68 British pence, from 54.50

* 108.20 NZ cents, from 107.96


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1,232.2 per fine ounce, from $US1,224.9 on Tuesday.


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