The share market has fallen for a third straight session, pulled back by weakness in the financial and energy sectors as geopolitical concerns continue to weigh on investor sentiment.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s surprise call for an early parliamentary election in June has added to investor anxiety triggered by political tensions around Syria and North Korea.
A disappointing quarterly result from US corporate heavyweight Goldman Sachs and concerns in Australia about the booming housing market and resulting regulatory measures weighed on the big four banks.
“It was the financials and energy sectors that let us down a bit today,” OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of political concerns in Europe with elections, and North Korea.
“We’re a barometer for risk sentiment here domestically, and we’ve been a bit of a whipping boy in the last two or three sessions.”
ANZ was the weakest of of the major banks, down 1.6 per cent, while its three rivals were down by just over one per cent.
In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum dropped 0.9 per cent and Santos fell 0.5 per cent after another decline in oil prices.
Oil Search dropped 1.9 per cent as it reaffirmed its full year production guidance after a a two per cent drop in production in the first quarter of 2017.
Miners were mixed as bargain hunters moved in amid weaker iron ore prices, with BHP Billiton down 0.04 per cent, Rio Tinto up 1.6 per cent and Fortescue Metals 2.95 per cent stronger.
Brambles jumped nearly six per cent after the logistics firm reported a rise in revenue over the first nine months of the financial year.
Telstra climbed 3.3 per cent – its first gain in five sessions.
The Australian dollar weakened against the US dollar, which itself lost ground as the British pound rallied.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 32.7 points, or 0.56 per cent, at 5,804 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 28.8 points, or 0.49 per cent, at 5,839.9 points.
* The June SPI200 futures contract was down 31 points, or 0.53 per cent, at 5,797 points.
* National turnover was 2.9 billion securities traded worth $7.04 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.17 US cents, from 75.55 US cents on Tuesday
* 81.72 Japanese yen, from 82.42 yen
* 70.1 euro cents, from 70.95 euro cents
* 58.61 British pence, from 60.05 pence
* 106.98 New Zealand cents, from 107.76 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,284.50 per fine ounce, up $US1.76 from $US1,282.74 on Tuesday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.615pct, from 1.627pct on Tuesday
* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.405pct, from 2.437pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.52 (implying a yield of 2.48pct), up from 97.48 (implying a yield of 2.52pct) on Tuesday
* June 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.23 (1.77pct), up from 98.21 (1.79pct).
(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session)