Stocks close lower on watery GDP figures

The sharemarket closed more than 1 per cent lower as weak GDP figures prompted investors to dump banking stocks.

The sharemarket closed more than 1 per cent lower as weak GDP figures prompted investors to dump banking stocks.

At the close on Wednesday, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 65.6 points, or 1.34 per cent, at 4835.2, while the broader All Ordinaries fell 61.5 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 4825.2.

The market posted its ninth fall in 12 trading days, following Wall Street's negative lead.

CMC Markets analyst Michael McCarthy said disappointing GDP figures and a weaker outlook in Japan were weighing on sentiment. "We could see further short-term moves down," he said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has outlined a blueprint for rejuvenating Japan's ailing economy, with regulatory changes to bring more women into the workforce, and coaxing companies into investing more and promoting innovation.

Meanwhile, figures released on Wednesday showed Australia's GDP grew by 0.6 per cent in the first three months of the year, and at an annual rate of 2.5 per cent, the first time it was below 3 per cent since the last quarter of 2011.

The big banks represent four of the six largest stocks on the ASX and their falls drove down the overall market.

ANZ was down 71¢ at $27.20, CBA fell 90¢ to $66.25, NAB was 66¢ weaker at $28.95 and Westpac was off 76¢ at $28.19.

The two big supermarket owners were also punished, with Wesfarmers 33¢ lower at $38.58 and Woolworths down 23¢ to $32.32.

BHP fell 47¢ to $33.79, while Rio slipped 77¢ to $54.36.

Gold stocks were also weaker, with Goldminer Newcrest falling 80¢ to $14.35.

Billabong shares continued to slide after Tuesday's plunge when the company lost half its market capitalisation after flagging asset sales to reduce debt as takeover talks collapsed. It was down 6.5 per cent at 21.5¢.

Bond futures prices rose after the release of the disappointing growth figures, which raised the prospect of more rate cuts by the central bank.

JPMorgan interest rate strategist Sally Auld said a rise in three-year futures prices came after investment bank Goldman Sachs issued a report saying the Reserve Bank was likely to cut the cash rate in July.

Ms Auld said markets were now focused on the release of US employment reports later this week. AAP

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