ASX dips, snapping four-day winning streak
The Australian share market has snapped its four-day winning streak, closing modestly lower after it failed to rise above a level closely watched by short-term traders.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index finished down 22.6 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 5,550.4 points, while the All Ordinaries index closed down 19.2 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 5,660.9.
In the opening minutes, the ASX200 hit a 10-week high of 5,610.8, but quickly ran out of steam.
CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy said the market had failed to surge past 5,600 points a number of times recently and the level had become a key one for short-term traders' decisions.
"So I think the market is pulling back from what we see as a technical level."
"There's just so much going on, there's so much to digest," said Bell Direct market analyst Jessica Amir.
"The market wants to move higher, there's nowhere else to invest, you've got supportive economic policies, but there's horrific economic data coming out."
Smaller companies once again outperformed bigger ones on Thursday, with the Small Ordinaries and MidCap 50 indexes both gaining 0.3 per cent, while the ASX20 index of Australia's twenty biggest companies dropped 0.7 per cent.
Sectors were mixed, with energy rising 1.3 per cent and industrials, tech and telecoms rising more modestly, while financials led decliners, retreating 0.8 per cent.
Afterpay hit an all-time high after the buy-now, pay-later leader announced it had added another million customers in the United States in the last 10 weeks to grow its customer base to five million active shoppers there, just two years after its US launch.
After stock rose 2.6 per cent to $44, having more than quintupled in value since crashing as low as $8.01 on March 23.
NRW Holdings stock soared 32.7 per cent to $2.19 after announcing said it was on track to meet its full-year revenue guidance of $2 billion, with its mining and infrastructure contracts not suffering because of the lockdowns.
Aristocrat Leisure stock declined 5.0 per cent to $25.97 after the gaming provider's half-year profit dropped 14.2 per cent as casinos, pubs and clubs closed because of coronavirus restrictions.
All the big banks were lower, with CBA down 1.7 per cent to $59.05, Westpac falling 1.0 per cent to $15.17, ANZ down 0.8 per cent to $15.39 and NAB dipping 0.5. per cent to $15.52.
The heavyweight mining sector also dragged on the market with BHP dropping 0.6 per cents to $34.51, Rio Tinto down 1.0 per cent to $93.19 and Fortescue Metals retreating 2.2 per cent to $13.60.
Energy stocks were up for the fourth time in five days as Brent crude prices rose 1.3 per cent to over $US36, having traded as low as $US20 in late April.
Woodside gained 0.7 per cent, Santos rose 3.3 per cent and Beach Energy gained 4.2 per cent.
The Australian dollar was buying 65.71 US cents, up from 65.43 US cents on Wednesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Thursday down 22.6 points, or 0.41 cent, at 5,550.4 points
* The All Ordinaries closed down 19.2 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 5,660.9 points
* At 1718 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was down four points, or 0.07 per cent, at 5,540 points
One Australian dollar buys:
* 65.71 US cents, from 65.45 US cents on Wednesday
* 70.82 Japanese yen, from 70.46 yen
* 59.84 euro cents, from 60.24 cents
* 53.83 British pence, from 53.48 pence
* 107.29 NZ cents, from 107.32 cent.
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