The Australian share market has been sapped of its recent bullishness during a thin day of trade, but the local bourse shook off a subdued resources sector to remain at a near 11-year high.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index had been as much as 0.3 per cent lower early on, but finished up 3.5 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 6385.6 points at 1615 AEST on Friday.
The broader All Ordinaries was just 2.6 points, or 0.04 per cent, higher at 6473.2.
CommSec markets analyst James Tao said the market struggled for momentum after the Anzac Day holiday with an oil price slide providing the most volatility during an otherwise quiet session.
“It’s probably one of those days where everyone wishes they were still on holidays,” Mr Tao said.
“What we’ve seen is the resources sectors weighing, keeping it in negative territory for the most of the day, but that’s coming back from a pretty high base and we’re still up there near 11-year highs.”
Mr Tao said the market would be looking to the US for GDP data on Friday evening AEST, while gazing ahead to next week’s meeting of the Federal Reserve.
Energy was the worst performing sector on Friday with a 1.47 per cent decline after oil prices eased following Brent crude’s first touch of $US75 for nearly six months – a move that hints at a pullback following the commodity’s recent good run.
Woodside Petroleum, Origin, Oil Search, Caltex, and Santos were each down by more than a percentage point.
But the heavyweight financial sector clawed back its early losses to sit flat after the four big banks moved higher.
Commonwealth Bank was 0.39 per cent higher at $75.45, Westpac gained 0.58 per cent to $27.74, ANZ was up 0.18 per cent at $27.40, and NAB was 0.04 per cent higher at $25.67.
All four started the day in the red.
Elsewhere, BHP lost 1.57 per cent to $37.60, Rio Tinto was 0.78 per cent lower at $97.62, and Fortescue Metals dropped 5.39 per cent to $7.19 to drag the mining sector lower.
Consumer discretionary stocks were also down – the sector slipping by 0.66 per cent – after Flight Centre lost more than 11 per cent in value following a 15 per cent profit downgrade on weak domestic leisure spending.
However, biotech giant CSL was a strong performer, gaining 1.02 per cent to $196.98.
The Australian dollar had rebounded a little and was worth 70.25 US cents, from 70.16 on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 3.5 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 6385.6 points at 1615 AEST on Friday.
* The All Ordinaries was up 2.6 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 6473.2.
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 2.0 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 6367.0.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 70.25 US cents, from 70.16 on Thursday
* 78.48 Japanese yen, from 78.53
* 63.06 euro cents, from 62.90
* 54.44 British pence, from 54.38
* 105.73 NZ cents, from 106.40