Headline indices of the Australian financial market closed down on Monday, 11 March 2019, as risk sentiments subdued after weak U.S. employment data and disappointing Chinese data raised worries over the strength of the global economy. Every sector was down except telecom, with energy and materials shares leading losses. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell 23.57 points, or 0.38%, at 6,180.19 points, while the broader All Ordinaries dropped 23.80 points, or 0.38%, at 6,263.28.
Market commenced trading with backfoot after payroll data from the United States on Friday showed employment growth in the world's largest economy almost stalled in February, adding to signs of a cooling economy. Risk sentiment was also dampened by weak Chinese inflation and new loans data released on the weekend, adding to dismal trade figures on Friday and pointed to lacklustre demand in Australia's largest trading partner.
Shares of materials and energy sectors declined. Santos, Woodside Petroleum, Oil Search, Origin Energy and Beach Energy were down between 1.73% and 2.44%. Mining giant BHP was down 1%, Rio Tinto down 0.7%, South32 down 0.3% and Fortescue Metals down 2.3%.
Gold stocks jumped after the price of yellow metal jumped one%, with Newcrest - which said it bought a majority stake in Canadian copper and gold mine Red Chris - up 3.8%, Northern Star up 4.5% and Evolution Mining up 4.3%.
Financial stocks declined after chief executives of Australia's largest lenders appeared before a parliamentary hearing on Friday. The chiefs of other major banks are expected to appear later this month. Adding to the sector's woes, Australia's corporate watchdog rebuked banks and financial services firms on Monday for delays in fixing internal systems that resulted in customers paying fees for services they had not received. Investment bank Macquarie Group fell 2.3%, while Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank edged lower.
CURRENCY: The Australian dollar was up against the U.S. dollar on Monday. The Aussie dollar is buying 70.42 US cents, from 70.01 US cents on Friday.