The Australian share market has given up its early gains to close lower, despite gold prices surging to a fresh all-time high and coming close to the breaking $US2,000 an ounce.
After being up as much as 0.9 per cent early, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Tuesday down 23.7 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 6,020.5 points, while the All Ordinaries index closed down 22.8 points, or 0.37 per cent, at 6,146.8.
“There was a lot for investors to take in today, it was like an action-packed night,” said Bell Direct market analyst Jessica Amir.
“There was so much to consider, and as a result, our market was very volatile.”
Among the things traders were considering were rising coronavirus cases in Victoria, the surging gold price and the upcoming release of second-quarter US gross domestic product figures on Thursday, said Ms Amir.
She called this week the most important week for economic data since the start of the pandemic.
Every sector was lower except for telecommunications, which was flat, and materials, which rose 0.87 per cent amid gains by iron ore miners.
BHP climbed 1.7 per cent to $38.05, Fortescue Metals rose 3.2 per cent to an all-time high of $16.89 and Rio Tinto added 1.2 per cent to $104.11 after reporting a new zone of gold mineralisation near its Winu deposit in WA, and ahead of its announcement of first-half results on Wednesday.
Goldminers were subdued after days of strong gains, even as the precious metal traded as high as $US1,981 an ounce, up from $US1,517 at the start of the year.
“It’s breathing down the neck of two thousand (dollars) at the moment,” Ms Amir said.
Newcrest gained 0.1 per cent, while Evolution and Northern Star were both down around one per cent.
Elsewhere, blood products giant CSL dropped 1.2 per cent to $272.20.
All the big banks were lower, with ANZ down 0.9 per cent to $18.07, NAB dipping 0.3 per cent to $17.90 and Commonwealth Bank drooping 0.4 per cent to $72.21.
Westpac was the worst-performing major bank, falling 1.5 per cent to $17.46 after the lender disclosed more than 500,000 additional transactions to Australia’s financial crime watchdog in relation to a money laundering and child exploitation scandal.
Credit Corp gained 8.8 per cent to $18.37, its best level in a month and a half, after the debt collector announced it had made $15.5 million in full-year profit, slightly better than the unaudited results it estimated two weeks ago.
Pinnacle Investment gained 10.9 per cent to a four-month high of $4.88 on broker upgrades, while fellow fund manager Perpetual resumed trading down 5.1 per cent to $31.91 after the completion of a $225 million institutional placement.
Takeover target Village Roadshow gained 14.1 per cent to $2.23 after extending its exclusivity period for discussions with BGH Capital for a third time.
Temple & Webster jumped 5.8 per cent to $8.23 after the online furniture trader said full-year revenue jumped 74 per cent.
There was a 130 per cent increase in fourth-quarter revenue as many customers purchased homewares online for the first time amid coronavirus restrictions.
The Australian dollar meanwhile was buying 71.30 US cents, down slightly from 71.32 cents from Monday’s close.
ON THE ASX
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Tuesday closed down 23.7 points, or 0.39 per cent, at 6,020.5 points
* The All Ordinaries closed down 22.8 points, or 0.37 per cent, at 6,146.8 points
* At 1732 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was up six points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5,992 points
One Australian dollar buys:
* 71.30 US cents, from 71.32 US cents on Monday
* 75.20 Japanese yen, from 75.29 yen
* 60.79 euro cents, from 60.97 cents
* 55.43 British pence, from 55.69 pence
* 107.25 NZ cents, from 106.93 cents.