Telcos, miners weigh down ASX
The Australian share market has closed lower on the last major day of the profit reporting season, dragged down by the telecommunications sector as well as the miners after a dip in iron ore prices.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 32.3 points, or 0.51 per cent, lower at 6,319.5 points on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 32.7 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 6,427.8 points.
CommSec chief market analyst Steven Daghlian said the telco stocks are coming back down to earth after the sector was boosted by the announcement of the $15 billion merger between TPG Telecom and Vodafone Australia on Thursday.
"There's a bit of profit taking partly because they were very strong yesterday on the back of the merger," he said.
"That caused a bit of excitement in that sector because it reduced the number of major players."
The sector closed 3.9 per cent lower, with TPG leading the losses down 7.2 per cent and Telstra, which benefited initially from the decrease in competition, down four per cent.
The price of iron ore fell 2.2 per cent overnight to $US65.87 per tonne, pulling BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and South32 shares lower.
Fortescue Metals share were down 3.8 per cent but the mining company began paying out dividends on Friday.
Of the big four banks, Commonwealth Bank was hit hardest, down 1.3 per cent to $71.24, while ANZ led the gains closing 0.4 per cent higher at $29.50.
In company news, shares in Retail Food Group fell 8.8 per cent after the Gloria Jean's and Donut King operator said it's expanding its store closure program and slumped to a $306.7 million full-year loss.
Harvey Norman's full-year profit has also slumped 16.4 per cent due to property revaluations and the furniture and electrical goods retailer's failed dairy farming investment.
Its shares were down 4.5 per cent to $3.60.
Toll road operator Transurban halted trading after the consortium it leads agreed to pay the NSW government $9.3 billion for a 51 per cent stake in the new WestConnex motorway.
The Australian dollar was buying 72.55 US cents at 1630 AEST, down from 72.88 US cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 32.3 points, or 0.51 per cent, lower at 6,319.5 points
* The All Ordinaries index was down 32.7 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 6,427.8 points
* In futures trading the SPI200 futures index was down 23 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 6,301 points at 1630 AEST
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