Stocks snap 10-day winning streak
The sharemarket has finished lower, ending 10 straight days of gains, with investors taking profits ahead of the beginning of reporting season next week.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 fell 17.9 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4878.8, while the broader All Ordinaries lost 18.1 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4901.
Among the sectors, consumer staples, utilities and health all dropped 1.1 per cent, energy slipped 0.8 per cent, materials lost 0.3 per cent and financials fell 0.2 per cent. Consumer discretionary and telecommunications bucked the trend adding 0.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.
For the month, the ASX200 was up 4.94 per cent, the best monthly performance since January last year.
‘‘The market had been getting a little bit ahead of itself and with the uncertain macro factors that we saw last night in the US[GDP], it’s prompted a theme of consolidation,’’ said BBY institutional trader Anson Rosewall.
Investors were erring on the side of caution, said Mr Rosewall, with reporting season due to kick off next week.
‘‘[The day] has an overall theme of profit taking, with people not being sure of what exactly to do and that’s kind of evident in the mixed rotation we’re seeing across the different ASX200 sectors,’’ he said.
Supermarket giant Woolworths fell 1.3 per cent to $31.24 after reporting disappointing quarterly sales results, while rival Wesfarmers also lost ground, down 1.4 per cent to $37.60.
Elsewhere in staples, food manufacturer Goodman Fielder dropped 2.9 per cent, but Coca-Cola Amatil bucked the trend, jumping 0.6 per cent to $13.84.
Despite the iron ore price rising to $US149.40 per tonne, the major miners lost ground. Rio Tinto fell 1.1 per cent to $66.36, BHP slide 0.4 per cent to $37.48 and Fortescue lost 1.1 per cent to $4.68.
After leading most of the 10-day rally forward, the big four banks failed to post any gains. NAB was down 1 per cent to $27.36, Westpac slipped 0.5 per cent to $28.04, CBA dropped 0.4 per cent to $64.45 and ANZ was flat at $26.58.
Retail shares also struggled, Myer fell 2.7 per cent to $2.49, while rival David Jones lost 1.6 per cent to $2.50 and Harvey Norman dropped 1.8 per cent to $1.96. JB Hi-Fi bucked the trend, gaining 0.2 per cent to $9.90.
Mr Rosewall said he expected trading volumes to be relatively weak next week, but activity should pick up once major companies begin reporting.
‘‘It might give investors the conditions to resume buying, but it also might give them a reality check to see whether gains in share prices match up with earnings growth and expected guidance for the financial year,’’ said Mr Rosewall.
Pharmaceutical company Pharmaxis plunged 46 per cent after it received a negative recommendation from a Committee advising the US Food and Drug Administration on the use of Bronchitol for cystic fibrosis patients in the United States.
Whitehaven Coal fell 5.5 per cent to $3.28 after it warned its earnings would be hit by problems with two sales contracts, weak prices, a strong Australian dollar and disruptions from a train derailment.
A report from ratings agency Standards and Poor’s warning of the Australian economy’s reliance on the mining sector took its toll on the dollar, which is well off its January peak of $US1.0575, sliding around half a cent to $US1.04 in late trading.
S&P, which examined a number of single sector reliant countries, said Australia was at an intermediate risk of a slowdown in the resources sector.
“As we head into the [RBA] announcement any sort of economic data or reporting suggesting weakness in the Australian economy will triggering selling in the Aussie dollar,” BBY's Mr Rosewall said.