Sharp falls by miners weigh on market

Trevor Chappell

The share market is weaker as mining stocks are pummelled after iron ore prices fell sharply.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 0.8 per cent at 1200 AEST as investors belted the big miners, while energy producers and the big four banks were also weaker.

Iron ore prices plunged 8.5 per cent overnight to $US68.04 per tonne.

Better than expected jobs figures, which showed the unemployment rate remained steady at 5.9 per cent in March and a jump in full-time employment, appeared to have little impact on the market.

But the Australian dollar was boosted by the data, and US President Donald Trump's comments about the US dollar being too high, taking it above 75.5 US cents.

BHP Billiton was down 3.95 per cent, Rio Tinto was down 4.2 per cent and Fortescue Metals, which reported a fall in quarterly shipments and a rise in costs, was 6.7 per cent weaker.

BlueScope Steel was down 8.3 per cent at a two month low.

Whitehaven Coal slumped 5.6 per cent after its third quarter production slipped four per cent,

Woodside Petroleum was down 2.3 per cent and Santos was off 2.9 per cent, after oil prices eased due to data on US crude inventories indicating the market is still heavily supplied.

The four big banks were down by between 0.5 per cent and 0.7 per cent, with Westpac the worst performer.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 47.2 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 5,886.8 points at 1200 AEST.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 46.1 points, or 0.77 per cent, at 5,922.8 points.

* The June SPI200 futures contract was down 52 points, or 0.88 per cent, at 5,875 points.

* National turnover was 968.5 million securities traded worth $1.73 billion.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 75.55 US cents, from 74.91 US cents on Wednesday

* 82.16 Japanese yen, from 82.11 yen

* 70.8 euro cents, from 70.58 euro cents

* 60.12 British pence, from 59.99 pence

* 108.01 New Zealand cents, from 107.94 NZ cents


* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.604pct, from 1.636pct on Wednesday

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.385pct, from 2.455pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* June 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.530 (implying a yield of 2.470pct), up from 97.465 (2.535pct) on Wednesday

* June 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.240 (1.760pct), up from 98.200 (1.800pct).

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