Aust stocks lose ground
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SYDNEY, Feb 14 AAP
February 15 2013, 10:47AM
Losses among the major banks and miners have dragged the Australian share market lower, but it continues to push above 5,000 points.
At 1030 AEDT on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 6.7 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 5,030.2 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down six points, or 0.12 per cent, to 5,051.2 points.
On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was down five points at 4,989 points, with 9,229 contracts traded.
Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee said the weaker open on Friday was not unexpected, given the market had enjoyed five consecutive weeks of gains.
"It's been an extremely positive run, so it's not surprising that we are seeing a bit of a rest for the Australian share market," she said.
"Having said that, a lot of it is being driven by earnings at the moment."
Among the major companies posting results was global miner Rio Tinto.
It led the market down after posting its first-ever net loss - almost $3 billion - for 2012 late on Thursday.
Its shares fell $1.62, or 2.25 per cent, to $70.45, despite the result coming in above analysts expectations.
"It just looks like a bit of profit-taking coming into Rio Tinto shares after that particular announcement," Ms Bell said.
Fellow miner BHP Billiton was also down, shedding 23 cents to $38.66.
In the banking sector, ANZ on Friday announced its first quarter net profit had dropped by nearly a fifth to $1.36 billion.
However, the bank's unaudited underlying cash profit for the quarter rose 6.25 per cent, to $1.53 billion from $1.44 billion.
The market reacted poorly to the news, with ANZ's shares down 31 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $27.75.
Ms Lee attributed the sell-off to the fact the result was more subdued than two of its competitors, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank.
CBA was down one cent at $66.89, while Westpac rose 16 cents to $28.92, and NAB gained nine cents to $29.44.
National turnover was 252.88 million securities worth $573.63 million.