Australian shares stabilise after rally-ending selloff


The local share market has finished ever-so-slightly lower, stabilising after a two-day selloff that signalled a stop to its recent rally.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday gave up its modest morning gains in the afternoon to close five points lower at 7,489.1, a dip of 0.07 per cent.

The broader All Ordinaries dropped 12.2 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 7,718.4.

The ASX200 dropped 1.3 per cent for the holiday-shortened week, snapping its five-week winning streak that saw it gain 7.3 per cent.

Traders were likely being cautious on Friday ahead of a monthly US jobs report, known as non-farm payrolls, that will be announced late on Friday and potentially could be important in setting the direction of US interest rates.

The ASX’s 11 sectors closed mixed, with five up, five down and utilities basically flat.

Tech was the biggest mover, dropping 2.1 per cent, as Xero fell 2.3 per cent and Wisetech Global retreated 3.8 per cent.

Core Lithium plunged 9.6 per cent to a year-and-a-half low of 23c after confirming it would temporarily cease production at its Grants open-pit mine near Darwin, which opened to great fanfare just a year ago.

The move was driven by the plunging price of lithium ore, whose price is down more than 85 per cent in the past 12 months, including by 50 per cent since the end of October.

“The team has moved at pace to ensure Core’s value is preserved in these tough market conditions,” said chief executive Gareth Manderson.

“We understand that this decision is difficult for employees, contractors and some local businesses,” he added.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, BHP fell 1.0 per cent to $49.07, Fortescue dropped 2.6 per cent to $28.19 and Rio Tinto retreated 1.6 per cent to 4132.36.

Goldminers were doing well, however, as rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East boosted the price of the yellow metal, with Northern Star gaining 1.3 per cent and Newmont rising 1.1 per cent.

Among the Big Four banks, CBA added 1.4 per cent to $112.99, Westpac advanced 1.0 per cent to $22.86 and ANZ and NAB had both gained 0.3 per cent, to $25.62 and $30.56, respectively.

The Australian dollar was at a two-week low against its US counterpart, buying 67.03 US cents, from 67.42 US cents at Thursday’s ASX close.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday finished down five points, or 0.07 per cent, at 7,489.1.

* The broader All Ordinaries dropped 12.2 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 7,718.4.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.03 US cents, from 67.42 US cents at Thursday’s ASX close

* 97.00 Japanese yen, from 96.90 Japanese yen

* 61.30 Euro cents, from 61.70 Euro cents

* 52.88 British pence, from 53.22 pence

* 107.58 NZ cents, from 107.68 NZ cents



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