Market lower as banks, energy stocks fall

(Australian Associated Press)

The share market is lower due to weakness among the big four banks, energy producers and health care companies.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 0.3 per cent at 1200 AEDT, with eight of the 12 sector indexes in negative territory.

National Australia Bank was the biggest faller in the financial sector, down 1.3 per cent, while its three banking rivals were less than one per cent lower.

The energy sector was mixed, though bigger players including Woodside Petroleum and Santos were lower after oil prices hit a three-month low overnight.

Biotechnology giant CSL was 0.6 per cent lower as it traded ex-dividend, while Ramsay Health Care was down 1.9 per cent and Cochlear was 1.5 per cent weaker.

Bucking the broader trend were the large miners, with Rio Tinto up 2.1 per cent, BHP Billiton up 1.2 per cent and Fortescue Metals up 5.2 per cent on the back of higher iron ore, steel and coaking coal futures.

Investors will have a close eye on a meeting between energy bosses and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull later on Wednesday.

ON THE ASX:

* At 1200 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 17.6 points, or 0.31 per cent at 5,741.5 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 16.1 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 5,782 points.

* The March SPI200 futures contract was down 19 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 5,743 points.

* National turnover was 1.26 billion securities traded worth $2.09 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 75.59 US cents, from 75.63 US cents on Tuesday

* 86.76 Japanese yen, from 86.86 yen

* 71.22 euro cents, from 70.96 euro cents

* 62.16 British pence, from 61.98 pence

* 109.11 New Zealand cents, from 109.23 NZ cents

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.874pct, down from 1.879pct

* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.866pct, down from 2.869pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.042 (implying a yield of 2.958pct), from 97.043 (2.957pct) on Tuesday

* March 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.860 (2.14pct), from 97.850, (2.15pct)

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEDT previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session)

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