ASX lower ahead of financial year's end
The financial sector has dipped for the second day in a row as traders realised losses ahead of the end of the financial year.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 17.5 points, or 0.25 per cent, to 6,640.5 points at 1615 AEST on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 18.4 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 6,716.1.
"There's little enthusiasm in the trading today," with personal tax considerations trumping macroeconomic concerns, said CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy.
Utilities, property trusts and consumer discretionary stocks were down the most, with the sectors down 0.6 and 0.9 per cent as a whole, while industrials and health care stocks were both collectively up 0.4 per cent.
The big four banks were all in the red, with ANZ down 1.1 per cent to $28.15, Westpac down 0.9 per cent to $28.04, NAB down 0.6 per cent to $26.70 and Commonwealth Bank down 0.3 per cent to $82.19.
In the mining sector, BHP dropped 0.2 per cent to $41.16 while Rio Tinto gained 0.8 per cent to $103.16 and Fortescue Metals fell 0.3 per cent to $8.70.
CSL was up 0.8 per cent to $215.82 while Telstra was down one per cent to $3.82.
Afterpay Touch was the second-biggest gainer among the ASX200, up 5.7 per cent to $27.18 and near its all-time high of $27.65 set in May, after Afterpay co-founders Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar said they didn't intend to sell any shares during the next financial year.
Mining contractor NRW Holdings was the biggest gainer, up 6.9 per cent to $2.47.
Shares in domain registrar and web hosting company Arq Group - formerly Melbourne IT - crashed 38.5 per cent to a 14-year low of 80 cents after a business update revealed that an 18-month transformation project hadn't gone to plan.
"Some parts of the business are on track and others are not," the company said in a presentation, adding that it would not pay a dividend given its less-than-expected earnings.
Fletcher Building was down 3.3 per cent to $4.92 after the New Zealand-based company forecast lower than expected annual earnings from its Australian arm.
Mr McCarthy said overall the market was a "bit of a patchwork carpet", with no overall theme ahead of the G20 summit in Japan this weekend.
"It really is about individual holdings today," he said.
But in general, stocks that have struggled this year were under pressure, Mr McCarthy said, suggesting that traders were selling them to realise their losses for accounting purposes before the financial year ends on Sunday.
In cryptocurrency, the price of Bitcoin continued its strong gains.
Bitcoin gained 12.4 per cent to $18,313 on Sydney exchange Independent Reserve, up from $13,200 a week ago and more than triple its value since just before the April 2 rally that ended its brutal 16-month bear market.
The Aussie dollar is buying 69.75 US cents, from 69.60 US cents on Tuesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 17.5 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 6,640.5 points at 1630 AEST on Wednesday.
* The All Ordinaries was down 18.4 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 6,734.5.
* At 1630 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down 25 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 6,569.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 69.75 US cents, from 69.60 US cents on Monday
* 74.96 Japanese yen, from 74.50 yen
* 61.41 euro cents, from 61.06 cents
* 55.05 British pence, from 54.48 pence
* 104.77 NZ cents, from 104.84 cents
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