Banks left behind as ASX advances
The Australian share market has closed higher for the first time since Tuesday, despite Westpac dragging the financial sector down.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Friday up 36.9 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 6,709.8 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 38.8 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 6,816.5 points.
The ASX finished for the week down 83.9 points, or 1.24 per cent, although it's still up 46 points for the month.
"We're kind of treading water, flip-flopping with what's happening with US-China trade," said Mathan Somasundaram, market portfolio strategist at Blue Ocean Equities.
"Overall, for our market, we're kind of going up and down, waiting for the global market to settle down."
Every sector finished up on Friday except for financials, which were flat, and property trusts, which dropped 0.14 per cent.
Westpac dropped 1.6 per cent to $24.77, its lowest level since February, as its board said it "unreservedly apologises" for the money laundering and child exploitation scandal involving unmonitored payments to Southeast Asia.
Among the other big banks, Commonwealth rose 0.3 per cent to $79.60 and ANZ gained 0.2 per cent to $24.86, while NAB 0.2 fell 0.2 per cent to $26.28.
Tech stocks were the biggest gainers, rising 1.5 per cent, with Xero up 2.2 per cent to an all-time high of $79.59, WiseTech Global up 3.1 per cent to $27.19 and sports technology company Catapult Group up 13.6 per cent to $2.01.
In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP gained 1.3 per cent to $37.19, Rio Tinto gained 0.8 per cent to $94.05 and Fortescue Metals climbed 3.9 per cent to $9.50.
WA nickel miner Panoramic Resources gained 6.9 per cent to 39 cents after saying it would allow Independence Group and other possible suitors to conduct due diligence on the company.
Energy companies Santos, Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search and Beach Energy were all up between 1.1 and 1.8 per cent as crude prices rose to two-month highs.
Mayne Pharma was the biggest ASX200 loser, falling 11.0 per cent to 48.5 cents after the drugs manufacturer said profit for the first four months of the financial year had slipped by a third.
"At these high levels, downgrades are not being forgiven," Mr Somasundaram said.
Qantas was up 1.6 per cent to $7.14 after the consumer watchdog signalled it was likely to approve the airline's tie-up with BP petrol stations.
Metcash tumbled 6.9 per cent to a two-week low of $2.83 after 7-Eleven declined to renew its contract with the wholesale food and beverage supplier.
Regenerative medicine company Avita Medical was the biggest ASX200 gainer, rising 7.7 per cent to 56 cents after falling for seven consecutive sessions.
The Aussie dollar is buying 67.88 US cents, from 67.99 US cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 36.9 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 6,709.8 points.
* The All Ordinaries closed up 38.8 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 6,816.5 points.
* At 1710 AEDT the SPI200 futures index was down five points, or 0.07 per cent, to 6,715.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT
One Australian dollar buys:
* 67.87 US cents, from 67.99 US cents on Thursday
* 73.72 Japanese yen, from 73.80 yen
* 52.54 euro cents, from 61.38 cents
* 52.54 British pence, from 52.58 pence
* 105.92 NZ cents, from 105.97 cents.
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