ASX drops for first time in five days

The Australian share market has closed lower for the first time in five days, with telecom and energy shares leading losses.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Monday down 24.8 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 6,579.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 20.7 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 6,677.5 points.

"It's not a massive selloff, is it," said X-chainge founder Nick Twidale.

"There's a lot of investor fatigue with the whole trade situation."

Mr Twidale said traders were likely taking a step back ahead of a busy week of macroeconomic news, including cash rates decisions by the Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday and the Bank of Canada on Wednesday, local GDP figures on Wednesday and the release of US non-farm payrolls on Friday.

"Overall I'm still pretty bearish on the whole situation," he said.

The only sectors not in the red on Monday were mining shares, which were collectively up 0.4 per cent, and utilities, which were flat.

BHP gained 0.8 per cent to $36.58 and Rio Tinto was up 1.4 per cent to $88.83 but Fortescue Metals dropped 1.9 per cent to $7.85.

Goldminers were mixed as the price of the precious metal hovered around $US1520 an ounce, with Evolution up 1.2 per cent, Newcrest up 0.3 per cent but Northern Star down 0.8 per cent.

Western Areas was up 14.1 per cent to a one-year high of $2.83 after its joint venture partner St George Mining said drilling had found "massive" nickel deposits at its Mt Alexander project in Western Australia.

St George shares were up 21.4 per cent to 17 cents.

Incitec Pivot was down 4.4 per cent to $3.07 after the agriculture chemical supplier slashed its full-year guidance.

Energy shares dropped after the price of Brent crude remained around US$59 a barrel, with Woodside down 1.0 per cent, Santos down 1.1 per cent and Oil Search down 1.5 per cent.

Telecom shares were down as Telstra dropped 2.2 per cent to $3.64 after softening its income guidance because NBN Co flagged fewer than expected connections over the next year.

Tech stocks were down 0.4 per cent as a sector but Afterpay Touch rose 1.3 per cent to set a fresh all-time high of $31.38.

Infection prevention device company Nanosonics rose 2.7 per cent to also set an all-time high of $6.85 after last week reporting strong full-year sales.

The big four banks were mostly lower, with ANZ, NAB and Commonwealth all down 0.1 per cent, to $26.71, $27.33 and $78.94, respectively.

Westpac rose a single cent, to $28.23.

Bubs Australia dropped 4.5 per cent to $1.18 after the infant formula maker reported after Friday's close a full-year net loss of $35.5 million, down 45 per cent from the past year.

Opthea rose 19.4 per cent to $4, its shares having more than quadrupled in a month after the Melbourne biotech company reported a clinical trial had backed its treatment for macular degeneration.

The Aussie dollar is buying 67.31 US cents, from 67.30 US cents on Friday.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 24.8 points, or 0.38 per cent, to 6,579.4.

* The All Ordinaries closed down 20.7 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 6,677.5.

* At 1651 AEST the SPI200 futures index was down 19 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 6,552.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.31 US cents, from 67.30 US cents on Friday

* 71.46 Japanese yen, from 71.44 yen

* 61.28 euro cents, from 60.84 cents

* 55.32 British pence, from 55.16 pence

* 106.74 NZ cents, from 106.64 cents.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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