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(Australian Associated Press)
The share market has taken its sharpest fall in seven weeks as profit-takers moved in, selling off across the market and dropping the benchmark index back under 6,000 points.
At the close the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 0.88 per cent, at 5,968.7 points, after the index pushed through 6,000 points on November 7, the first time it had achieved the mark in almost a decade.
Philip Capital senior adviser Michael Heffernan said an absence of positive local data and poor overnight leads led investors to cash in their October gains right from the opening bell.
“The local market may have just run out of puff today and there is some merit to profit-taking after such a strong run – the ASX has gained six per cent in six weeks,” Mr Heffernan said.
Information technology was the only sector not ending the session deep in the red, pulled up by Computershare’s 4.9 per cent rise to a record high of $15.93, after the share registry company upgraded its earnings forecast.
Energy companies were strongly sold off despite strength in oil prices, with Woodside Petroleum down 3.2 per cent at $31.20, Oil Search 2.2 per cent weaker at $7.26 and Santos 2.2 per cent lower, at $4.48.
In important trade data released on Tuesday, China’s retail sales rose 10 per cent for the year to October, while industrial output grew 6.2 per cent, with both measurements below market forecasts and impacting the Australian dollar and local miners.
BHP Billiton was down 1.2 per cent at $27.95, Rio Tinto fell one per cent to $73.04 and Fortescue Metals lost 1.7 per cent to $4.77.
The big banks fell in concert, with Westpac and ANZ down 1.1 per cent, Commonwealth Bank down 0.9 per cent and National Australia Bank 1.5 per cent weaker.
Incitec Pivot gained 4.8 per cent at $3.92, after the fertiliser and explosives maker more than doubled its annual profit, while Ruralco gained 0.4 per cent, to $2.90 after delivering a record annual profit.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is lower following the weaker-than-expected Chinese retail and industrial data, trading at 76.34 US cents at 1630 AEDT, from 76.61 US cents on Monday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 53.1 points, or 0.88 per cent, at 5,968.7 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 48.5 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 6,048.7 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was down 58 points, or 0.96 per cent, at 5,976 points.
* National turnover was 6.1 billion securities traded worth $9.7 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 76.33 US cents, from 76.61 US cents on Monday
* 86.7335 Japanese yen, from 86.973 yen
* 65.39 euro cents, from 65.73 euro cents
* 58.18 British pence, from 58.34 pence
* 111.19 NZ cents, from 110.54 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,276.683 per fine ounce, from $US1,276.905 per fine ounce on Monday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.8983pct, from 1.8503pct
* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6097pct, from 2.5756pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.325 (implying a yield of 2.675pct), from 97.36 (2.64pct) on Monday
* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.99 (2.01pct), from 98.03 (1.97pct).
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)