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Market report: Wednesday, March 30

Markets

The Australian share market has turned lower, weighed down by the major banks.

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After initially opening slightly higher, the market did an about turn.

The big four banks continue to decline in the wake of Thursday’s heavy selling which wiped around $15 billion from their combined market value, CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy says.

Adding to the downward pressure is thin trading volumes linked to the Easter break, he added.

“The financials are the worst performing sector this morning with last week’s pressure on the banks reasserting itself,” he said.

“We are also not seeing a lot volume.”

He said announcements from ANZ and Westpac last week about exposure to bad debts linked to the downturn-hit resources sector have made investors nervous.

At 1020 AEDT, ANZ was down 42 cents, or 1.75 per cent, at $23.60, Commonwealth Bank shed $1.05, or 1.4 per cent, to $73.77, National Australia Bank fell 32 cents, or 1.22 per cent, to $25.95, while Westpac dropped 44 cents, or 1.43 per cent, to $30.41.

But, the major miners were in positive territory with BHP Billiton up 12 cents to $17.12, Rio Tinto gaining 56 cents to $42.86, while Fortescue Metals lifting three cents to $2.60.

As for the energy players, Woodside Petroleum was up 33 cents at $27.27, while Santos added one cent to $4.04.

KEY FACTS:

* At 1020 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 5.4 points, or 0.10 per cent, at 5,146.2 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 7.5 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 5,076.7 points.

* The June share price index futures contract was down seven points at 5,062 points, with 3,440 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 276 million securities traded, worth $279 million.

AAP

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