Australian shares fall to finish week down 1.6 per cent

The Australian share market has finished lower with each of the ASX's 11 sectors either flat or losing ground.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday finished down 44 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 7,773. 

The broader All Ordinaries fell 46.5 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 8,026.

For the week ,the ASX200 dropped 1.6 per cent after reaching an all-time high on Easter Thursday.

The energy sector was basically flat, still benefiting from the boost to oil prices. 

Brent crude rose to a six-month high of $US91 a barrel amid rising tension in the Middle East.

Major petroleum producers experienced gains. 

Woodside finished up 0.2 per cent, Santos rose 0.6 per cent, Ampol 0.9 per cent and Viva 1.3 per cent while Beach Energy fell 1.3 per cent.

Real estate was the runner-up, down by 0.1 per cent, likely buoyed by the US Federal Reserve's promise to cut interest rates later this year.

The materials sector was down 0.8 per cent. 

Industry leader BHP was down 0.9 per cent, Rio Tinto fell by 1.0 per cent and Fortescue by 0.7 per cent.

However, gold miners have continued to do well after the price of gold hit a record high of $2,295 an ounce on Wednesday night. 

Northern Star rose by 0.5 per cent, Newmont was up 0.1 per cent and Evolution Mining rose 2.4 per cent.

The Big Four banks were mixed, with Westpac and ANZ finishing flat, NAB dropping 0.1 per cent and CBA falling 0.3 per cent.

The financial sector as a whole was down 0.4 per cent.

In small caps, Vitura Health rose 3.0 per cent to 17 cents after announcing its joint venture Cortexa would begin manufacturing MDMA for clinical use, making it the first Australian company to produce the drug. 

The Australian dollar declined slightly, buying 65.70 US cents, from 65.90 US cents at Thursday's ASX close.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday finished down 44 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 7,773.

* The broader All Ordinaries dropped 46.5 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 8,026.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 65.71 US cents, from 65.91 US cents at Thursday's ASX close

* 99.36 Japanese yen, from 99.95 yen

* 60.69 Euro cents, from 60.77 Euro cents

* 52.03 British pence, from 52.08 pence

* 109.36 NZ cents, from 109.23 NZ cents

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