(Australian Associated Press)
Australian shares have closed in negative territory as gains by miners failed to outweigh losses from the consumer sector.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 10.4 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 6,096.5 points at 1615 AEDT on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 8.4 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 6,175.8.
Consumer staples lost 2.51 per cent after Woolworths reported disappointing earnings, while the material sector finished up 1.78 per cent amid positive reporting from Fortescue Metals and BHP.
“It really have been earnings driving the performance of stocks,” said Julia Lee, market analyst with Bell Direct.
Imaging company Nearmap and A2 Milk both soared to all-time highs on positive earnings reports, with Nearmap up 7.53 per cent and A2 up 10.53 per cent. Home appliance maker Breville Group, which reported higher earnings last week, gained another 2.83 per cent to high an all-time high as well.
But Pact Group Holdings sunk 17.04 per cent to an all-time low of $2.58 after the specialty packaging company reported it had lost $320 million for the half-year.
“It has been a challenging start to the year, and this is reflected in our earnings,” Pact Group executive chairman Raphael Geminder said.
BHP gained 2.51 per cent and Rio Tinto added 2.62 per cent while Fortescue Metals gained 5.35 per cent despite reporting a five per cent fall in half-year profit.
Newcrest Mining was up 1.88 per cent and Northern Star was up 3.56 per cent after the price of gold hit a 10-month high overnight.
Seven Group Holdings shares rose 12.21 per cent, to $19.02, after the conglomerate announced its profits had rose 61 per cent, to $257 million.
The big banks were down, led by Westpac at 0.75 per cent.
Woolworths was down 5.16 per cent despite reporting a one per cent increase in first-half profit, while its rival Coles was down 5.88 per cent.
Corporate Travel was up 14.69 per cent after it booked a 27 per cent rise in half-year net profit to $38.8 million.
Fast fashion retailer Lovisa soared 20.16 per cent to a four-month high of $9.30 after it boosted its dividend five cents, to 18 cents a share, on the backs of strong profits.
Domino’s was down 3.05 per cent after the pizza maker reported a 9.2 per cent slide in first-half profit.
The Reject Shop was down 1.09 per cent after announcing a 40 per cent drop in first-half profits.
Crown Resorts was down 5.33 per cent after its first-half profits fell 26.7 per cent to $174.9 million.
Property development company Stockland was down 2.39 per cent after it warned of weaker full-year results from declines in residential property.
The Aussie dollar is buying 71.64 US cents, from 71.12 US cents on Tuesday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 10.4 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 6,096.5 points at 1630 AEDT on Wednesday.
* The All Ordinaries was down 8.4 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 6,175.8.
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 5 point, or 0.08 per cent, at 6065.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 71.64 US cents, from 71.12 US on Tuesday
* 79.38 Japanese yen, from 78.68
* 63.15 euro cents, from 62.97
* 54.84 British pence, from 55.14
* 104.26 NZ cents, from 104.09
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1342.73 per fine ounce, from $US1326.04 on Tuesday.