The ASX holds modest gains mid-session. Picture: Reuters.
The ASX holds modest gains mid-session. Picture: Reuters.

Australian shares have finished lower as weaker commodities prices and the prospect of higher unemployment weighed on investors.

At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 32.2 points, or 0.67 per cent, at 4809.5 while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 28.8 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 4797.6.

RBS Morgans client adviser Bill Chatterton said the big miners and banks dragged the local market lower.

“Weaker commodity prices set the theme,” Mr Chatterton said.

“BHP, Rio and Newcrest are all suffering and the banks have got knocked around a bit.”

The energy sector was more resilient due to better oil prices, while overall trading volumes were relatively light.

BHP Billiton dropped 65 cents to $30.95, Rio Tinto shed $1.06 to $51.64 and gold miner Newcrest lost 83 cents, or 7.7 per cent, to $9.90. Fortescue Metals Group lost six cents to $3.30.

Atlas Iron was down 4.75 cents, or 5.6 per cent, to 79.5 cents, after announcing it would start construction work on a new Pilbara mine.

Oil and gas players finished stronger, with Woodside 30 cents higher at $36.19 and Santos adding 19 cents to $13.41.

The wider market took a hit after the release of ANZ job advertisement figures at 9.30am, which showed a 1.8 per cent fall in the number of ads posted in June.

Official labour force data will be released on Thursday.

Among the big four banks, Commonwealth shares were flat at $68.99, Westpac shed one cent to $28.34, ANZ lost 27 cents to $28.13 and National Australia Bank closed 30 cents lower at $28.87.

AAP

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

More from The West