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Australian shares finish down amid rocky road warnings

The Australian share market has rebounded from some of Monday's losses as Australian earning season and the month drew to a close.

The S&P/ASX200 on finished Tuesday up 33.6 points, or 0.47 per cent, to 7,258.4. But the benchmark index finished February down 2.9 per cent for the month, giving back 218 points, or half of the 438 points that it gained in January.

The broader All Ordinaries finished Tuesday up 38.4 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 7,458.

"It feels like like we've put in a bit of a bottom into the market - it hasn't been overly aggressively, but there's been a consistent drawdown in the index," Pepperstone head of research Chris Weston told AAP.

"It's not really been explosive - there's no fear - it's just after a strong run at the beginning of the year, the market's just sort of lacked buyers, more than anything else."

And March "could be a rocky ride," Mr Weston warned, "given the event risks and what we need to get through".

The Reserve Bank meets next Tuesday and the Fed later in the month, among other things.

Overnight, US bond yields retreated from their highest levels in months, while the US dollar eased against European currencies on word of a new Northern Ireland trade deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Closer to home, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported retail sales rebounded a better-than-expected 1.9 per cent in January after a four per cent drop in December.

But Harvey Norman plunged 7.5 per cent to an eight-month low of $3.85 after the retailer announced a drop in half-year profit and a soft start to 2023, with January Australian sales down 10 per cent.

Wesfarmers fell 0.6 per cent to $48.24 and JB Hi-Fi dropped 2.8 per cent to a two-month low of $41.84, although Myer was up 6.9 per cent to 93c.

The mining and energy sectors were the biggest gainers on the day, with both rising 1.5 per cent in the material sector's first green day since last Tuesday.

BHP rose 1.5 per cent to $45.20, Fortescue gained 2.8 per cent to $21.40 and Mineral Resources added 3.9 per cent to $82.56.

In the energy sector, Woodside climbed 2.2 per cent to a two-week high of $35.91 and Santos added 1.6 per cent to $7, but coalminer Yancoal dropped five per cent to $5.86.

The big retail banks were mostly lower, except for NAB which was basically flat at $30.

Westpac subtracted 0.9 per cent to $22.53 while CBA and ANZ both dropped 0.7 per cent, to $100.69 and $24.65, respectively.

Pointsbet plunged 10.3 per cent to a three-year low $1.13 after the sports-betting company announced a $149.1 million first-half loss, up 17 per cent from a year ago.

Managing director and group chief Sam Swanell said the overall results showed its North American strategy was delivering, but Pointsbet shares are down nearly 93 per cent from their February 2021 peak.

In health care, Telix rose 6.2 per cent to a one-month high of $6.98, a day after Australia's second-biggest biotech reported a 20-fold increase in full-year revenue, to $160.1 million, following the commercial launch of its prostate cancer imaging agent Illuccix.

In currency, the Aussie was buying 67.24 US cents, up from 67.05 US cents at Monday's ASX close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Tuesday up 33.6 points, or 0.47 per cent, at 7,258.4.

* The broader All Ordinaries gained 38.4 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 7,458.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 68.14 US cents, from 68.14 US cents at Friday's ASX close

* 91.67 Japanese yen, from 91.37 Japanese yen

* 63.53 Euro cents, from 63.62 Euro cents

* 55.84 British pence, from 56.17 pence

* 109.37 NZ cents, from 109.25 NZ cents.