The Australian share market has lifted as the major banks made gains but investors dumped retail stocks as a major acquisition by internet giant Amazon.com in the US ignited fears for the future of local bricks-and-mortar retailers.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 lifted 31.2 points, or 0.54 per cent to 5,805.2 points.
Retail stocks on US markets were rocked on Friday by Amazon.com’s $US13.7 billion deal to buy upscale grocer Whole Foods, with the deal viewed as a major step by the internet retailer into the bricks-and-mortar retail sector.
Atlantic Pacific Securities client adviser Gary Huxtable said the fear of Amazon also hurt retail stocks in Australia on Monday.
“The retail sector has been quite disappointing,” he said.
“The market is in a state of fear, with any news about Amazon growth looked upon negatively – obviously, investors know the disruption power they (Amazon) have.”
Supermarket retailer Woolworths fell 3.5 per cent, and electronics and homewares retailer Harvey Norman lost 3.08 per cent.
Retailers Wesfarmers, Myer, Premier Investments and JB Hi-Fi were down by between 0.22 per cent and 2.9 per cent.
Mr Huxtable said the big banks continue to recover from the sell-off sparked by the federal government’s bank proposed $6.2 billion bank levy announced in the May budget.
Commonwealth Bank gained 1.1 per cent, ANZ lifted 0.9 per cent, Westpac climbed 1.2 per cent, and National Australia Bank improved 1.5 per cent.
Energy stocks were mostly lower on persistent concerns about global oversupply, with Woodside Petroleum down 0.7 per cent to $30.30 and Oil Search off 0.4 per cent to $6.57, but Santos up a cent to $3.04.
In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton nudged a cent higher to $23.00 and Rio Tinto scraped off three cents to $60.05.
Fairfax Media closed one cent higher at $1.23 after it rebuffed an approach from a consortium including advertising entrepreneur John Singleton for its 54.5 per cent stake in Macquarie Media.
Macquarie Media shares leapt 9.7 per cent to $1.25.
Baby food maker Bubs Australia surged 20.7 per cent to 17.5 cents after signing a partnership deal with leading internet technology company NetEase Kaola.com, reaching into the demanding Chinese market.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar stayed above 76 US cents after the greenback lost ground following disappointing US consumer sentiment and housing data.
The local currency was trading at 76.14 US cents at 1630 AEST, from 75.85 US cents on Friday.
ON THE ASX AT 1630 AEST :
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 31.2 points, or 0.54 per cent, at 5,805.2 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 27.5 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 5,835.5 points.
* The SPI200 futures contract was up 29 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 5,743 points.
* National turnover was 1.97 billion shares worth $5.2 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST
CURRENCY ASK BID PREVIOUS
AUD/USD 0.7616 0.7611 0.7616
AUD/JPY 84.52 84.47 84.44
AUD/EUR 0.6797 0.6792 0.6799
AUD/NZD 1.0479 1.0468 1.0498
AUD/GBP 0.596 0.5955 0.5952
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,252.24 per fine ounce, down from $US1,254.56 per fine ounce on Friday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.7755pct, from 1.763pct
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.4069pct, from 2.4066pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* September 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.55 (implying a yield of 2.45pct), from 97.6375 (2.3625pct) on Friday
* September 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.18 (1.82pct), from 98.28 (1.72pct).