The Australian share market finished session lower on Wednesday, 14 October 2020 snapping six days of winning streak, as investors elected to book recent profit on following soft lead from Wall Street overnight after two coronavirus medical trials were paused over potential safety concerns.
At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index inclined 29.80 points, or 0.49%, to 6,131.97. The broader All Ordinaries added 30.59 points, or 0.48%, to 6,343.07.
Wall Street stocks ended down following mixed earnings and after two coronavirus medical trials were paused over potential safety concerns. US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced it had temporarily halted its Covid-19 vaccine trial because one of its participants had become sick. J&J's announcement was followed on Tuesday afternoon in the US by news that Eli Lilly had also paused a trial of a coronavirus antibody treatment because of safety concerns.
Losses were felt most heavily among the financials and resources sectors while health, retailing and technology advanced. Mining and energy stocks were weighed lower mostly by weaker commodity prices while the uncertainty around the verbal instructions from Chinese authorities to ban Australian coal imports also weighed on mining stocks with coal exposure.
Whitehaven Coal (WHC) fell 4%.
The big four banks all ended in the red with Westpac (WBC) shedding the most, down 1.4%. WBC confirmed that it will consolidate its overseas operations to hubs in Singapore, London and New York. Bank of Queensland (BOQ) bucked the weakness within financials with a gain of 5.2% after releasing its FY20 profit results despite the regional bank cutting its final dividend by 82% to 12 cents per share as cash earnings dropped 30% to $225 million. The results were better than market and analyst expectations.
Travel stocks like Flight Centre (FLT) and Webjet (WEB) both fell sharply on some concerns that increasing community transmitted COVID-19 cases in NSW could impact the reopening of interstate borders. FLT tumbled 7.7% and WEB eased 4.1%
CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7172 following its decline this week from levels above $0.72.
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