ASX opens lower despite materials strength

The Australian share market has opened slightly lower despite a positive lead from overseas, with the heavyweight materials sector saving the headline index from a larger overall drop.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 9.5 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 6,675.2 points at 1030 AEDT on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries was down 9.0 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 6,782.5 points.

Consumer staples, property trusts and utilities fell the most in the first half hour of trade, with each sector slipping about 0.50 per cent.

Coles was down 1.31 per cent, rival supermarket giant Woolworths fell 0.58 per cent, and IGA supplier Metcash was 0.69 per cent lower.

Stockland, Scentre Group, Vicinity Centres and Mirvac were down between 0.75 per cent and 1.11 per cent.

The big four banks were lower, with ANZ down 0.47 per cent to $27.82, Commonwealth down 0.52 per cent to $79.69, NAB down 0.26 per cent to $28.785, and Westpac down 0.55 per cent to $28.92.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank was down 0.49 per cent, Bank of Queensland was down 1.59 per cent and Macquarie Group was up 0.08 per cent.

With healthcare flat, tech and materials were the only two sectors to show gains.

Copper prices rose overnight and, while BHP was flat at $34.85, Rio Tinto was up 1.01 per cent to $88.10, and Fortescue Metals was up 1.53 per cent to $8.285.

But the tech sector had the largest gains, advancing 0.23 per cent, as Bravura Solutions jumped 8.24 per cent.

Elsewhere, Seven West Media was up 6.58 per cent after it announced plans to merge with regional affiliate Prime Media in a $63.8 million all-scrip deal.

Southern Cross Media, which was set to acquire Seven West Media’s WA radio network Redwave, was up 4.91 per cent.

On Wall Street overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.09 per cent, the S&P 500 was up 0.28 per cent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was up 0.40 per cent.

The Aussie dollar is buying 68.26 US cents from 67.83 US cents on Thursday.


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