Aust shares dip but set to record another winning week

Derek Rose |

The local bourse has dropped on possible profit-taking but shares are still on track overall to record their fourth straight week of gains.

At midday AEST on Friday the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 39.2 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7,842.1, while the broader All Ordinaries had dropped 39.3 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 8,110.8.

With a few hours of trading left, the ASX200 was up 1.2 per cent over the course of the week, with Friday set to be just its fourth losing session in the past three weeks. Last week the index gained 1.6 per cent and Thursday’s close was just 54 points from its all-time high.

Overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed above 40,000 for the first time ever but closed slightly below that record high, down 0.1 per cent. 

“The drift lower throughout the session could be reasonably ascribed to profit-taking after the surge in stocks following the CPI data,” wrote analyst Kyle Rodda, referring to Wednesday night’s US inflation readout. 

Nine of the ASX’s 11 sectors were higher at midday, all except for mining, which was up 0.3 per cent, and consumer staples, which was flat.

Health care was the biggest loser, falling 1.6 per cent as CSL dropped 1.9 per cent and Cochlear dipped 1.4 per cent.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank was the largest gainer in the ASX200, climbing 7.8 per cent to a 21-month high of $10.69 as the country’s sixth-largest bank said it had made $464 million in cash earnings in the ten months to April 30, down 2.3 per cent from a year ago but nine per cent better than analyst expectations.

Chief executive Marnie Baker said prudent management of costs had helped the bank grow its net interest margin, a closely watched metric of profitability.

Fellow regional lender Bank of Queensland was up 2.7 per cent and Westpac was up 0.2 per cent, while ANZ and NAB were flat and CBA had dropped 0.7 per cent.

In the heavyweight mining sector, the iron ore giants were in the green, outweighing losses for the goldminers.

BHP was up 0.8 per cent, Fortescue had climbed 1.6 per cent and Rio Tinto had gained 0.6 per cent, while Evolution and Northern Star had both dropped 1.4 per cent and Newmont was down 1.2 per cent.

Lithium companies were doing well, with Pilbara up 2.1 per cent, Liontown growing 3.0 per cent and smaller peers Vulcan Energy, Patriot Battery Metals and Latin Resources all up a bit more than 10 per cent.

The Australian dollar was buying 66.60 US cents, from 66.78 US cents at Thursday’s ASX close.