UNSPECTACULAR profit results from BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto and a lower growth forecast from the Reserve Bank dragged the sharemarket lower yesterday.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 38 points to close at the low of the day, 4245.3 points a loss of
5.8 points for the week.
Newcrest Mining rose 57? to $34.01 after the world's fifth-biggest miner provided some cheer, beating market expectations with record first-half earnings, driven largely by stronger sales of gold, silver and copper.
The results helped improve investor sentiment after BHP and Rio reported weaker than expected profits earlier in the week.
Rio, the world's third-largest mining company, recorded a second-half loss, its first in four years, of 59 per cent. The results were released after the market close on Thursday, and the stock was driven down $1.62 yesterday to $69.98. BHP Billiton lost 86? to $36.30.
"BHP Billiton and Rio's results have been good, but they have not met the market's expectations," said Options Express analyst Ben Le Brun. "If they're not breaking records and having cash returned to shareholders by way of capital management initiatives, then the market seems to be pretty grumpy."
CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said: "The Australian market is struggling to go [higher] with the US market because of the effects of the currency [the higher Australian dollar], the failure [of the Reserve Bank] to cut interest rates, and the reassessment that people are making on the near-term consequences of that.
"With the miners in Australia, the strength of the Australian dollar weighs on their earnings and dividend steams."
Mr Spooner said ANZ fulfilling its threat to break free from the RBA's cash-rate cycle had added to the negative mood.
Although there had been positive developments with the Greek debt crisis, investors were not convinced there would be any resolution to the long-running saga until the bailout funds had actually been delivered, he said.