Share market slightly down as gold companies buck the trend

The Australian share market has closed modestly lower in light trade as most investors stayed on the sidelines after Wall Street and the London share market were closed for public holidays.

Both main indexes in Australia finished 0.5 per cent lower.

The All Ords ended at 5,448, while the ASX 200 finished at 5,379.

Shares in banking stocks pulled the broader market lower, with biggest lender Commonwealth Bank of Australia dropping 1 per cent, while Australia and New Zealand Banking Group lost 0.8 per cent.

Bluechip stocks also fell, with Wesfarmers dropping 2.1 per cent, Woolworths falling 1.2 per cent, and Telstra tumbling 1.4 per cent.

Gold companies bucked the trend to rise as investors piled into the safe haven sector.

Newcrest Mining jumped 1.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, airline Virgin Australia struck a deal with HNA aviation where the Chinese company will take a 13 per cent stake in the Australian airline.

Shares in Virgin soared 7.1 per cent to three-week highs of $0.30.

Elsewhere, data from the Bureau of Statistics show Australia's current account deficit fell 8 per cent to $20.8 billion over the March quarter seasonally adjusted.

Other figures from the bureau show building approvals jumped a seasonally adjusted 3 per cent in April.

Looking ahead, economists expect GDP figures due tomorrow will show an uptick in economic growth for the first quarter.

A Reuters poll of 20 economists expects a rise of 0.8 per cent.

Year-on-year growth is expected to be 2.8 per cent higher.

The Australian dollar jumped after strong economic data and just after 5:00pm (AEST) was buying 72.4 US cents, 65 euro cents, 80.5 Japanese yen and 49.3 British pence.

In commodities, spot gold gained to $US1,213 an ounce, while West Texas crude was fetching $US49.31 a barrel.

Source: ABC News

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