Australian shares dip, snapping six-day winning streak

The local share market has finished slightly lower, taking a breather from six straight days of gains after a Federal Reserve official played down talk rate cuts could come quickly.

The S&P/ASX200 index on Monday finished down 16.3 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 7,426.4, while the broader All Ordinaries was 12.3 points lower, or 0.16 per cent, to 7,649.6.

After Australia's markets closed on Friday, New York Fed president John Williams told CNBC the US central bank wasn't really talking about rate cuts.

"I just think it's premature to be even thinking about that," he said, speaking just days after a Fed meeting that unleashed a global stock market rally on the perception the Fed was finally pivoting towards dovishness.

Eight of the ASX's 11 sectors finished lower, with property the biggest loser, dropping 1.4 per cent.

Two ASX300 companies, Adbri and Link Group, soared by double-digits after receiving takeover offers.

Adbri gained 31.3 per cent to a year-and-a-half high of $2.98 after the cement manufacturer said it would recommend shareholders accept a $3.20-per-share, $2.1 billion buyout from US-listed CRH ANZ and Barro Group.

Link Group rocketed 27.1 per cent to an eight-month high of $2.16 after the superannuation services provider agreed to a $2.26-per-share, $1.2 billion takeover offer from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

Tabcorp climbed 23.1 per cent to a two-month high of 90.5c after signing a 20-year wagering agreement with the Victorian government to maintain its exclusive licence for retail wagering in the state. 

Tabcorp will pay Victoria $600 million in June and another $30 million a year under the arrangement, which chief executive Adam Rytenskild said put Tabcorp on a level playing field with online bookmakers.

"Today is momentous in the journey of our company post demerger," he said.

Neuren Pharmaceuticals also had a great day, advancing 29.5 per cent to an all-time high of $22.20 after its potential treatment for a rare genetic disorder known as Phelan-McDermid syndrome showed efficacy in a phase two clinical trial in the United States.

Eighteen children treated with the twice-daily oral drug over 13 weeks showed improvements in behaviour, communication, cognition/learning and socialisation, Neuren said.

"The strength and consistency of these results has exceeded our expectations," Neuren chief executive Jon Pilcher said.

In the heavyweight mining sector, BHP dropped 0.1 per cent to $49.34 and Fortescue dipped 0.2 per cent to $27.79, while Rio Tinto was 0.3 per cent higher at $133.26.

The Big Four banks were little changed, with CBA the biggest mover, dropping 0.1 per cent to $110. The others were basically flat.

The Australian dollar was buying 67.25 US cents, from 66.98 US cents at Friday's ASX close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Monday down 16.3 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 7,426.4.

* The broader All Ordinaries dropped 12.3 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 7,649.6.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.25 US cents, from 66.98 US cents at Friday's ASX close

* 95.65 Japanese yen, from 95.08 Japanese yen

* 61.60 Euro cents, from 60.99 Euro cents

* 53.01 British pence, from 52.52 pence

* 107.69 NZ cents, from 108.11 NZ cents. 

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