Banks and miners trigger market fall

Petrina Berry
AAP

Falls by the major banks, miners and and telco company Vocus have triggered the share market's steepest fall in six weeks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 0.98 per cent after the big banks lost more ground on ANZ's weaker-than-expected half year cash profit, announced on Tuesday.

Weak iron ore futures hurt the miners and a profit warning from Vocus caused a plunge in its share price, Patersons Securities economist Tony Farnham said.

Falls in those three major sectors outweighed gains in the energy sector and some health care companies, he said.

"There are concerns that the net interest margins' slippage seen in the ANZ result might repeat itself for the other banks" Mr Farnham said.

ANZ dropped 2.8 per cent, National Australia Bank shed 2.7 per cent ahead of its half year results announcement on Thursday, and Westpac, which reports on Monday, fell 1.9 per cent.

Commonwealth Bank was 1.7 per cent weaker.

A second profit warning in six months caused a 27 per cent fall in Vocus shares to a three-and-a-half year low of $2.44. Telstra also fell in morning trade, but recovered to add one cent to $4.27.

BHP Billiton fell 2.3 per cent and Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals each shed 0.95 per cent.

Fairfax Media dropped one cent to $1.07 after its journalists went on strike in response to plans to cut a quarter of remaining editorial staff at its major Australian newspapers, and the company also indicated it will make cuts in New Zealand after the country's competition watchdog blocked a merger with NZME.

The Australian dollar has fallen back below 75 US cents amid weaker Chinese iron ore futures, and ahead of the US Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) decision on interest rates early on Thursday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 58.1 points, or 0.98 per cent, at 5,892.3 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 51.5 points, or 0.86 per cent, at 5,919.9 points.

* The June SPI200 futures contract was down 58 points, or 0.98 per cent, at 5,876 points.

* National turnover was 2.7 billion securities traded worth $7.3 billion.

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,254.90 per fine ounce, down $US1.10 from $US1,256.00 on Tuesday.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 74.89 US cents, from 75.25 US cents on Tuesday

* 83.92 Japanese yen, from 84.41 yen

* 68.57 euro cents, from 68.93 euro cents

* 57.98 British pence, from 58.46 pence

* 107.87 New Zealand cents, from 108.92 NZ cents

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.668pct, from 1.675pct

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.533pct, from 2.549pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* June 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.380 (implying a yield of 2.620pct), from 97.395 (2.605pct) on Tuesday

* June 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.150 (1.850pct), from 98.130 (1.870pct).

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session)