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MELBOURNE, Feb 5 AAP

February 05 2013, 12:41AM

The Australian share market was on track for a second consecutive day of losses on Tuesday as global markets posted significant falls for the first time in 2013.

At 1218 AEDT on Tuesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 30.9 points, or 0.63 per cent, at 4,876.6, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 31.7 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 4,897.4.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was down 30 points at 4,839, with 13,982 contracts traded.

US and European markets fell sharply overnight, highlighting how fragile investor confidence is amid claims of improper political payments in Spain which sent bond yields there soaring.

CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said the situation was a dilemma, with short term investors possibly taking a breather to protect profits after some bad news.

The long-term worry was if the Spanish instability dragged on, it could be unsettling for markets.

Most sectors were down in Australia including the dominant financials and resources, with only defensives such as health care and consumer staples and gold miners gaining.

Macquarie Group updated the market on its operations on Tuesday, saying its capital markets businesses continued to experience subdued conditions.

Macquarie forecast a jump in net profit of 10 per cent, but that was below expectations and the investment bank's shares were down $1.36, or 3.5 per cent, at $37.37.

Among the major banks, Commonwealth had eased 42 cents to $64.29, ANZ shed 12 cents to $26.43, National Australia Bank lost 33 cents to $27.72 and Westpac slipped 16 cents to $27.75.

In the resources sector, global miner BHP Billiton dropped 55 cents to $37.255, and Rio Tinto fell 61 cents to $67.38.

Fortescue Metals shed nine cents to $4.70.

Also making news, Cochlear has returned to profitability with net profit of $77.7 million in the six months to December, up from a $20.4 million loss in the previous corresponding period.

However, investors were unimpressed, with its shares down $5.06, or 6.26 per cent, at $75.42.

Toll road operator Transurban posted a first half profit drop of 16 per cent to $81.1 million, and its shares were up 7.5 cents at $6.175.