Banking sell-off drags ASX down
THE sell off of banking stocks has continued to drag the Australian share market into the red.
The benchmark S&P/ ASX200 index was down 0.5 per cent yesterday, with the financial sector slumping 1.2 per cent.
The selloff of major banking stocks that began on May 9 with news of the government’s bank levy continued apace, with ANZ down more than two per cent.
ANZ was the worst performer of the big four banks, falling 2.1 per cent to $28.455, but National Australia Bank and Westpac were also down, by 1.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.
Commonwealth Bank was down 72 cents, or 0.9 per cent, at $80.09. As well as the federal government’s bank levy, investors are also nervous about a potential slowdown in the domestic housing market and the US political situation.
In the mining sector, BHP lifted 1.0 per cent, Rio Tinto was up 1.7 per cent, and Fortescue Metals gained 2.6 per cent following a rise in iron ore futures. Energy supplier Origin Energy was 11 cents, or 1.4 per cent, lower at $7.62 after announcing it will sell its Darling Downs pipeline network in Queensland to Chinese-controlled Jemena Gas for $392 million.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar had pared back Thursday’s gains after a rebound in the greenback to sit at 74.18 US cents.