ASX drops 1.7 pct with all sectors down
The volatile Australian share market has plunged 1.7 per cent, repeating a familiar pattern as it trades in a fairly tight range.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index finished on the day's lows to close Thursday down 93.2 points, or 1.72 per cent, at 5,328.7 points, while the All Ordinaries index closed down 95.7 points, or 1.74 per cent lower, at 5,418.
"It truly seems like we're having a turnaround in sentiment on almost a daily basis," said IC Markets general manager Nick Twidale in Sydney.
"We've seen a lot of gloom and doom from the central banks ... but I'm not too despondent even though we're having a bad day."
The market, Mr Twidale said, wants more information before it can break out from the 5,100 to 5,500 level it has been trading in since April 1.
"We're trading in a fairly tight pattern. It's wait and see, but I think we'll know more in a couple weeks."
Energy stocks were the biggest losers on Thursday, collectively down 3.0 per cent as Beach Energy, Santos, Woodside and Oil Search all dropped between 2.8 and 5.8 per cent.
Caltex Australia dropped 2.5 per cent to $24.24 as shareholders approved renaming the company to Ampol.
All the big banks were lower as CBA fell 3.2 per cent to $58.90, Westpac dropped 2.4 per cent to $14.95, ANZ declined 2.6 per cent to $15.15 and NAB fell 2.6 per cent to $15.24.
Australian Finance Group fell 11.3 per cent to $1.20 after raising $46.9 million in an institutional placement at $1.15 a share.
In the tech sector, Xero fell 4.8 per cent to $79.77 after the Kiwi cloud accounting platform announced that while it had achieved its first full-year net profit in the 12 months to March 31, trading in the early stages of FY21 had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In real estate, Charter Hall rose 4.3 per cent to $7.61 after reaffirming its FY20 earnings guidance of 40 per cent operating earnings per security growth on FY19.
Bulk grains handler Graincorp rose 11.6 per cent to $3.67 after swinging to a half-year profit of $388 million following the sale of its bulk liquid terminals business and the demerger of United Malt.
In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP fell 1.3 per cent to $30.61, Rio Tinto dropped 0.6 per cent to $83.26 and Fortescue Metals dipped 1.1 per cent to $12.05.
Newcrest rose 3.6 per cent to $29 after announcing holders of $US455 million in notes had taken the goldminer up on its offer to redeem them.
Blood products giant CSL was the biggest drag on the market, as Australia's biggest company on the ASX fell 2.7 per cent to $301.63.
Breville Group rose 6.7 per cent to $19.95 after the small appliance maker completed a $94 million institutional placement.
Shaver Shop soared by 30.2 per cent to 56 cents after reporting online sales had jumped 387 per cent over the past six weeks, more than offsetting the sales decline across its physical store network.
The Australian dollar was buying 64.37 US cents, from 64.70 US cents at the close of trade on Wednesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Thursday down 93.2 points, or 1.72 cent, at 5,328.7 points
* The All Ordinaries closed down 95.7 points, or 1.74 per cent, at 5,418 points
* At 1739 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up 22 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 5,331 points
One Australian dollar buys:
* 64.44 US cents, from 64.69 US cents on Wednesday
* 68.84 Japanese yen, from 69.24 yen
* 59.61 euro cents, from 59.71 cents
* 52.76 British pence, from 52.75 pence
* 107.51 NZ cents, from 107.73 cent.
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