The Australian share market is lower, pulled back for a second successive session by significant falls among the big miners, with weakness among the big four banks further prodding the retreat.
OptionsXpress market analyst Ben Le Brun said soft iron ore futures were weighing on the big miners, and the banks were easing back back after a good run upwards.
"The banks have run out of puff at the same time when the materials sector has completely lost its way," Mr Le Brun said.
"But in saying that, the US market has generally been our saviour, so all eyes are going to turn onto the performance of US stocks tonight, and we might be able to erase a number of these loses on Monday."
Mr Le Brun said the company earnings reports released on Friday had been mixed, but it looked like there were more hits than misses.
Rio Tinto was the worst performer among the miners, dropping 4.2 per cent , while Fortescue Metals reversed by 3.4 per cent and BHP Billiton surrendered three per cent.
The big four banks - Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, ANZ and National Australia Bank - all ended lower, edging the key financials sector down by half a per cent.
Among the stocks ending a busy week of company earnings reports, Cabcharge lifted by 24 cents, or 6.63 per cent to $3.86 after slumping to a half-year net loss of $106.75 million but declaring an 80-cent special dividend.
Prime Media Group rose 1.5 cents, or 5.1 per cent to 31 cents, after the television broadcaster lifted half-year net profit 7.2 per cent based on a boost in advertising revenue during the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Dairy processor Murray Goulburn's listed entity, the MG Unit Trust, fell 5.5 cents, or 5.6 per cent, to 92 cents after Murray Goulburn suffered a half-year loss of $31.87 million and its milk supply contracted due to wet weather and aggressive competition.
Car and truck retailer Automotive Holdings Group fell 17 cents, or 4.2 per cent, to $3.90 after its first-half net profit fell 19.8 per cent, hit by Western Australia's economic downturn and a loss in the group's refrigerated logistics division.
Troubled infant formula maker Bellamy's Australia lost 17 cents, or 3.8 per cent, at $4.30 after it reported a 47 per cent drop in half-year profit to $7.2 million following weaker-than-expected sales in China.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar managed to stay above US 77 cents.
The Australian dollar hit 77.41 US cents overnight - a four-month high - as the US dollar fell.
The Australian dollar was at 77.16 US cents at 1700 AEDT on Friday, up slightly from 76.97 US cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
- On Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 45.7 points, or 0.79 per cent, at 5,739.0 points
- The broader All Ordinaries index was down 45.6 points, or 0.78 per cent, at 5,786.9 points
- The March SPI200 futures contract was down 41 points at 5,718 points, with 27,857 contracts traded at 1630 AEDT
- National turnover was 3.5 billion securities traded, worth $8.2 billion
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
- 77.16 US cents, from 76.97 on Thursday
- 87.051 Japanese yen, from 87.17 yen
- 72.92 euro cents, from 72.85 cents
- 61.47 British pence, from 61.83 pence
- 106.82 New Zealand cents, from 106.73 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,250.50 per fine ounce, up $US14.30 from $US1,236.20 on Thursday
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
- CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.792pct, from 1.825pct
- CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.6784pct, from 2.7295pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
- March 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.235 (implying a yield of 2.765pct), from 97.18 (2.82pct) on Thursday
- March 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.0 (2.0pct), from 97.96 (2.04pct).
(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEDT previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session)