Australian shares extended early losses to close 0.7 per cent lower on Monday as worries about the global economy weighed on investors,although a spike due to a technical error briefly sent the index to a two-month high.
The market’s reaction to the weekend summit of G20 leaders was muted while a minor cabinet reshuffle by Australia’s new Prime Minister Julia Gillard also had little impact.
That left the market in search of direction and worries about the global recovery set Monday’s direction.
“There are no stock sector specific events,it is the general theme that has been running for the last month or so … general nervousness about the strength of the global recovery,” Concise Asset Management portfolio manager Andrew King said.
The market jumped 13.4 per cent during the morning trade to 5012.8,its best since mid-April,after market contributor Standard & Poor’s received some erroneous pricing information from its data provider,market operator ASX Ltd said.
“There were no trades,it was simply erroneous prices which affected the index only,” ASX spokesperson Leeanne Bland said,adding it was not yet known whether the figure would be erased as the day’s high.
The benchmark index closed down 28.5 points to 4,384.5.
New Zealand’s benchmark NZX 50 index was 0.6 per cent lower at 3,015.8.
Major miner Rio Tinto lost 1.4 per cent and BHP Billiton dropped 0.8 per cent as investors assessed how far Gillard’s government will go in modifying her predecessor’s mining tax proposal.
The push to reach a compromise on the tax hit a snag on Monday when the Greens party,whose votes Gillard will likely need in the upper house Senate,vowed to block any bid to seriously water down the proposal.
But there were bright also spots in the market.
Paint maker Wattyl Ltd jumped 28 per cent to A$1.62,a 22-month high,after US paint and coatings firm Valspar said it had agreed a A$142 million takeover deal.
The four major Australian all closed lower despite opening mostly firmer as the US passed a less draconian than feared law revamping financial regulation.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia closed down 0.1 per cent to A$49.95,ANZ Banking Group fell 0.8 per cent to A$22.29 and National Australia Bank closed 1.1 per cent lower at A$23.53.