Market close: Australian shares lose ground on mixed profit results

Australian shares have closed lower after mixed profit results and as the banking sector dragged on the broader market.

Markets at 5:38pm (AEST)

  • ASX 200 -0.5% to 5,508, All Ords -0.4% to 5,607
  • Major gains: Treasury Wine +11.5% to $10.65, WorleyParsons +9.9% to $8.69, Iress +9.8% to $11.71
  • Major losses: Primary -5.3% to $3.97, Select -5% to $6.52, Mesblast -4.7% to $1.53
  • Futures: Euro STOXX 600 +0.4% to 341.3, FTSE +0.3% to 6,876, S&P 500 flat at 2,180
  • AUD: 77.1 US cents, 58.9 British pence, 77 Japanese yen, 68 euro cents, $NZ1.057

Among earnings, investment house AMP tumbled 4.6 per cent to $5.52 after its underlying profit fell 10 per cent on the previous year to $513 million, below market expectations, while its life insurance claims weighed on the company's bottom line.

Travel booking website Webjet rocketed 20.5 per cent to all-time highs of $9.70 after reporting a net profit of $22 million, a jump of over 25 per cent.

New South Wales coal miner Whitehaven Coal climbed 4 per cent to $2.12 after swinging from a loss to post a net profit of $20.5 million in the 2016 financial year on rising revenues and cost cutting.

Origin Energy lost 1.2 per cent to $5.77 after the company reported an annual after tax loss of $589 million as a result of falling oil prices and an ongoing debt hangover from its massive investment in LNG exports.

Gaming firm Tatts Group reported net profit for the year fell 7 per cent to nearly $234 million, citing a hit to earnings in part due to its lawsuit against the Victorian Government over changes to poker machine licences. Tatts Group lost 0.5 per cent to $3.99.

Banks were the main drag, with all of the big four posting losses.

Commonwealth Bank lost 1.2 per cent as it traded ex-dividend, while National Australia Bank fell 0.7 per cent. ANZ slipped 0.2 per cent.

NAB and ANZ both confirmed they are among 17 banks and two international broking houses named in a class action relating to the alleged rigging of the bank bill swap rate and bank trading in the United States.

ANZ and Westpac have both indicated they will vigorously fight the case.

In economic news, the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.7 per cent, but part time work has hit a record high, according to data released from the ABS today.

In commodities trade, spot gold soared $US9.00 to $US1,352 an ounce.

Brent crude oil dipped in futures trade to $US49.67 a barrel on speculation about higher supplies from Saudi Arabia after West Texas Crude rose overnight.

Source: ABC News

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