Share market loses steam after early gains
The share market had a flat close on Thursday, losing solid early gains after Japan’s central bank kept interest rates on hold and investors remained wary about the risk of Britain leaving the European Union.
Stocks rallied at the open, led by miners, after the US Federal Reserve left interest rates on hold but signalled it still plans two rate hikes this year.
But the market quickly lost steam midway through the session.
By the close the All Ordinaries Index was one point higher at 5,232, while the ASX-200 Index lost one point to finish on 5,146.
Billionaire James Packer’s Crown Resorts led the way, helping consumer stocks top the gains by sector.
The casino operator had the biggest gains on the benchmark index after announcing plans to split its Australian business from most of its international businesses.
Crown says its share price has been unfairly dragged down by its performance in the Chinese gambling hub Macau, which has been hit by a corruption crackdown.
Crown Resorts closed 13.2 per cent higher at $12.75.
Financial stocks went the other way, leading the losses.
Medibank Private lost 5.5 per cent to close at $2.91 on news the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is taking action against the private health insurer in the Federal Court.
The competition watchdog alleges Medibank tried to hide changes to some benefits, to prevent members from leaving the health insurer before its share market debut in 2014.
Elsewhere in the sector the big four banks all finished lower — NAB fared the worst, down 0.8 per cent to $24.78.
Jobless rate remains steady
In economic news, Bureau of Statistics figures show the jobless rate held at a seasonally adjusted 5.7 per cent in May.
Nearly 18,000 new jobs were created, but they were all part time.
The dollar crept higher against the greenback on the release of the jobs figures but has since retreated.
It is also at a four-year low against the Japanese yen.
Around 5:00pm AEST it was buying 73.5 US cents, 65.1 euro cents, 76.2 Japanese yen and 52 British pence.
Oil prices dropped with Brent crude down about 1 per cent to $US48.45 a barrel.
Spot gold was higher at $US1,310 an ounce.