Profit-takers are pulling the share market lower

Trevor Chappell
(Australian Associated Press)

 

A bigger than expected rebound in economic growth has not stopped profit-takers from pulling the share market lower for a fifth straight session.

US President Donald Trump’s first speech to the US Congress also failed to inspire the market, with less policy detail than investors had hoped for.

CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said confirmation of a return to growth for the Australian economy in the final three months of 2016 had been anticipated.

The economy grew by a larger-than-expected 1.1 per cent in the December quarter.

The Australian dollar got a modest boost from the figures, but subsequently eased, and was buying 76.54 US cents at 1630 AEDT.

Mr Spooner said President Trump’s speech contained nothing new, nor details of his plans to boost the US economy, so the address had little impact on financial markets.

“After all that, the market has been just in a profit taking mode in recent days, and that’s continued,” Mr Spooner said.

Investors may be exercising some caution ahead of the release of US inflation data on Wednesday night, which could influence the market’s assessment of the timing of the next interest rate hike in the US, he said.

Market heavyweight Telstra was also trading ex-dividend, falling 3.7 per cent, contributing to the market’s weakness.

After a drop in oil prices, Woodside Petroleum fell 1.5 per cent and Santos reversed 2.1 per cent.

BHP Billiton lost 0.5 per cent, Rio Tinto fell one per cent and Fortescue Metals was 0.5 per cent weaker.

The big four banks all rose, with Westpac and Commonwealth the best performers, each gaining 0.6 per cent.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 dropped 7.4 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 5,704.8 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index dropped 10.1 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 5,750.9 points.

* The March SPI200 futures contract was down two points, or 0.04 per cent, at 5,682 points at 1630 AEDT.

* National turnover was 2.6 billion securities traded, worth $5.6 billion.

CURRENCY UPDATE AT 1700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 76.61 US cents, from 76.86 US cents on Tuesday

* 86.902 Japanese yen, from 86.45 yen

* 72.58 euro cents, from 72.55 euro cents

* 61.91 British pence, from 61.78 pence

* 107.27 New Zealand cents, from 106.85 NZ cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,244.30 per fine ounce, down $US9.75 from $US1,254.05 on Tuesday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.8402pct, from 1.8030pct

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.7538pct, from 2.681pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.165 (implying a yield of 2.835pct), from 97.245 (2.755pct) on Tuesday

* March 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.94 (2.06pct), from 98.01 (1.99pct) on Tuesday

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEDT previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session)

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