(Australian Associated Press)
The Australian share market has recovered some of its early losses but was still lower at midday, dragged down by weak financial stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 7.9 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 5,744.0 points at 1200 AEST on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 9.0 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 5,850.1 points.
The S&P/ASX200 had been down as much as 0.4 per cent but had already recovered some ground before better-than-expected retail spending data gave the index an extra bump.
The Australian dollar also got a lift, rising from 76.84 US cents just before the data was released at 1130 AEST to 77.02 US cents at midday.
That compares to 77.04 US cents on Tuesday.
But the big four banks were still lower and the mining sector flat, as the local bourse largely ignored a positive lead from the US.
ANZ was the worst performer among the big banks, falling 25 cents, or 0.94 per cent, to $26.30.
Commonwealth Bank was the strongest of the quartet – slipping just 22 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $72.04 – despite an outage that hit its internet banking, mobile app and retailer payment terminals.
In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton was flat at $28.70, Rio Tinto was up 19 cents, or 0.26 per cent, at $74.38, and Fortescue Metals added 10 cents, or 2.35 per cent, to $4.36.
But the gold miners were lower, leaving the materials sector flat overall.
Among other stocks, dairy processor Murray Goulburn’s listed entity, the MG Unit Trust, was steady at 95 cents after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission allowed Canadian dairy giant Saputo’s takeover to proceed.
Beef producer Australian Agricultural Company was 10.5 cents, or 8.6 per cent, lower at $1.115 after it forecast a full-year earnings loss of $30 million to $40 million.
On Wall Street overnight, stocks lifted by more than one per cent as as traders felt optimistic about the coming US company earnings season.
ON THE ASX AT 1200 AEST:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 7.9 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 5,744.0 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 9.0 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 5,850.1 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 1.0 point, or 0.02 per cent, at 5,720 points
* National turnover was 1.505 billion securities traded worth $2.286 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 77.02 US cents, from 77.04 on Tuesday
* 82.02 Japanese yen, from 81.59 yen
* 62.72 euro cents, from 62.52 euro cents
* 54.71 British pence, from 54.76 pence
* 105.89 NZ cents, from 106.12 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEST was $US1,332.99 per fine ounce, from $US1,341.11 per fine ounce on Tuesday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEST:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0619pct, from 2.0372pct on Tuesday
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6024pct, from 2.5868pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.370 (implying a yield of 2.630pct), from 97.380 (2.620pct) on Tuesday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.820 (2.180pct), from 97.845 (2.155pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)