(Australian Associated Press)
A solid run of upbeat profit results has failed to keep Australian shares aloft on Wednesday as political uncertainty and the abandonment of big business tax cuts dominated news of the day.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index ended the day down 18.4 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 6,266.0 points, while the All Ordinaries index was down 9.2 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 6,373.8 points.
Attention was focused on Canberra as the government’s final tax cuts package for big businesses was rejected in the Senate and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the policy would not be taken to the next election.
The tax cuts failed as leadership speculation continues around Mr Turnbull, who may soon face another challenge from former minister Peter Dutton after narrowly winning a party room face-off on Tuesday.
Away from Canberra, falls in the mining and banking sector pushed the market lower.
BHP Billiton shed 1.4 per cent to $32.08, adding to falls incurred on Tuesday after it missed analyst expectations on full-year underlying profit.
Rio Tinto dropped 1.8 per cent to $71.69 and Fortescue fell 3.1 per cent to $4.06 as iron ore futures fell.
Doubts on the outcome of US-China trade talks swayed sentiment, while US futures fell during Wednesday as markets assessed the possible impact of a guilty plea from US President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
“Next to these headlines, trade news fell completely under the radar,” Citi analysts said.
Locally the banking sector fell to its lowest level since early August with the big four banks all down by one per cent or more.
A busy day of company profit reports was overshadowed by news internet challenger TPG is in talks with third-ranking Vodafone on a possible merger.
The confirmation hiked the telco sector, boosting TPG by 21.6 per cent to $7.65 and Telstra by 7.2 per cent to $3.27.
In profit reports, Carsales.com leapt 10.9 per cent higher to $16.25 after reporting a 69 per cent jump in full-year profit to $185 million.
Coca-Cola Amatil jumped 3.6 per cent to a 16-month high of $9.86 as it posted half-year profit up 13 per cent to $158.1 million and flagged a review of its SPC canning business that could result in a sale.
The Australian dollar was at 73.42 US cents at 1700 AEST, down from 73.51 US cents on Tuesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed down 18.4 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 6,266.0 points
* The All Ordinaries was down 9.2 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 6,373.8 points.
* In futures trading the SPI200 futures index was down 23 points, or 0.37 per cent, at 6,236 points at 1630 AEST.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 73.42 US cents, from 73.51 US cents on Tuesday
* 81.07 Japanese yen, from 80.91
* 63.48 euro cents, from 63.85
* 56.92 British pence, from 57.30
* 109.66 NZ cents, from 110.25
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,193.64 per fine ounce, down from $US1,194.74 per fine ounce on Tuesday.