ASX Down, Banks and Energy Stocks Lower

May 6, 2020 Updated: May 6, 2020

The Australian share market has slipped more than 0.5 percent in early trade after a weak lead from US markets overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was down by 30.1 points, or 0.56 percent, to 5354.5 points after the first 30 minutes of trade on May 7.

The All Ordinaries index was 29.3 points lower, or 0.54 percent, at 5435.5.

The financial and energy sectors were the biggest drags on the market – down 1.19 and 1.61 percent respectively.

ANZ lost 25 cents, or 1.54 percent, to $15.95, Commonwealth Bank slipped 84.5 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $59.50, NAB dropped 31 cents, or 1.87 percent, to $16.28, and Westpac was down 20 cents, or 1.25 per cent, to $15.76.

Those results came after the S&P 500 and the Dow fell overnight amid declines in financials and defensive groups.

Oil dropped 4.0 percent overnight to below $US30 a barrel as US crude stockpiles ticked up and diesel inventories swelled.

Among the biggest losers in ASX energy stocks were Oil Search, down 8.0 cents, or 2.71 percent, to $2.87, and Santos, which lost 10 cents, or 2.06 percent, to $4.75.

One of the best early performers was engineering, construction and accommodation firm Decmil Group.

Its shares were up 10.26 percent to 21 cents. Decmil on Monday reported it was trying to negotiate the sale of its hotel in Gladstone in Queensland, which caters to mining workers.

The big miners had mixed results in early trade. BHP was up 34 cents, or 1.12 percent, to $30.75, Rio was lower by 8.5 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $81.90, while Fortescue was down 1.0 cent, or 0.09 percent, to $11.25.

Insurer NIB’s shares slipped 1.04 percent to $4.77 after reporting a 22 percent drop in sales of health insurance in April compared with the same period last year due to COVID-19.

The lost revenue may be offset by fewer claims.

Healthcare was one of a minority of sectors to gain. CSL was up $1.06, or 0.35 percent, to $307.84.

The telco sector was up slightly too. Telstra shares were 2.0 cents higher, or 0.65 percent, to $3.08.

The March international trade balance will be published later this morning by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Westpac economists expect the surplus to widen to $6.8 billion, led by a sharp rebound in exports.

One Australian dollar buys 63.99 US cents at 1030 AEST, down from 64.45 US cents on Wednesday’s close.

By Steven Deare