Miners and banks drag Aust shares down
The Australian share market has closed slightly lower, dragged down by losses for the banks and the materials sector.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 6.1 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 6,234.8 points on Friday, while the All Ordinaries was down 1.3 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 6,326.4 points.
For the week, the benchmark index dropped one per cent.
CommSec's chief market analyst Steven Daghlian said the banks have struggled all week after gaining by about four and two per cent for June and July respectively.
"A six per cent lift in two months is substantial, so I think we're seeing a bit of money taken off the table at the moment," Mr Daghlian said.
"It's been a pretty bad week for the banks, in fact it's the worst I've seen since the middle of March."
The financial sector closed two per cent lower for the week.
On Friday, ANZ shed 0.9 per cent to $28.64, National Australia Bank was down 0.6 per cent to $27.64, Westpac finished one per cent lower at $28.91 and Commonwealth Bank was down 1.2 per cent at $72.83.
The materials sector also came under pressure throughout the week due to increasing concerns about a trade war between the US and China.
Rio Tinto was the biggest loser, falling by about six per cent this week, with sector-based losses amplified by the dual-listed stock undershooting expectations at its half-year results.
In company news, online furniture and homewares retailer Temple & Webster said it remains on track for a first full-year profit in 2019.
Shares in the company closed 11.3 per cent higher at 74 cents.
Australian Bureau of Statistics retail trade figures released on Friday showed a 0.4 per cent lift in sales in June, which was slightly ahead of market expectations.
Attention now turns to next week when the profit reporting season ramps up with Commonwealth Bank, AMP, Suncorp, Tabcorp and toll road company Transurban all revealing their earnings.
The Chinese yuan weakened to its lowest value since May following the escalating trade tensions in recent days.
The Australian dollar, which is sensitive to movements in the Chinese markets, came under pressure on Friday.
The Aussie was worth 73.60 US cents at 1700 AEST, down from 73.80 US cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed down 6.1 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 6,234.8 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 1.3 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 6,326.4 points.
* The SPI200 futures contract was up nine points, or 0.1 per cent, at 6,183 points at 1630 AEST.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 73.6 US cents, from 73.8 US cents on Thursday
* 82.217 Japanese yen, from 82.403
* 63.58 euro cents, from 63.44
* 56.59 British pence, from 56.40
* 109.46 NZ cents, from 108.97
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,205.74 per fine ounce, down from $US1,218.17 per fine ounce on Thursday.
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