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ASX down 1.1pct ahead of busy week of data

The Australian share market has moved lower ahead of a busy week of economic data that could clear the way for more aggressive interest rate hikes.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Monday closed down 75.8 points, or 1.14 per cent, to 6,602.2, while the broader All Ordinaries fell 84.4 points, or 1.23 per cent, to 6,792.6.

“I think the market is taking a wait and see because there’s so much economic data coming out this week,” IG analyst Hebe Chen said.

“It’s not a surprise that the market is taking a cautious approach.”

US inflation figures for June will be released on Wednesday, following Friday’s strong jobs report that was seen to increase the odds of a 75 basis point rate hike by the Federal Reserve on July 27.

There is also Chinese second-quarter gross domestic product figures that will be disclosed on Thursday, as well as midweek decisions on monetary policy by the central banks in Canada and New Zealand and

Every sector of the ASX was lower on Monday except for health care, which rose 0.1 per cent. Mining was the worst hit, falling 2.8 per cent as BHP hit a four-day low.

Australia’s biggest company dropped 3.1 per cent to $38 after the UK Court of Appeal said a $6 billion lawsuit seeking damages over the 2015 Samarco dam diaster in Brazil, which killed 19 and devastated two villages, could move forward.

“In our view, we see this as a modest negative – this process is still likely to take some time, especially if BHP pursues an appeal to the UK Supreme court,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Tyler Broda wrote in a note.

Elsewhere in the sector, Fortescue dropped 2.6 per cent to $16.85, Rio Tinto fell 2.1 per cent to $95.36 and South32 dipped 2.7 per cent to $3.63. Goldminers Newcrest, Northern Star and Evolution were all lower, by between 2.5 and 4.9 per cent.

In tech, Brisbane-based fintech EML Payments plunged 24.6 per cent to a six-year low of 96.5c after its chief executive for the past decade, Tom Cregan, resigned suddenly.

No reason was given and EML said that no termination benefits will be provided.

He will be replaced by board member Emma Shand, a former NASDAQ executive.

Link Group gained 0.3 per cent to $4.03 after rejecting Dye & Durham’s revised $4.57-per-share takeover offer. The superannuation technology company said it was still negotiating with its Canadian suitor, however.

Costa Group fell 8.0 per cent to a two-year low of $2.65 after the fruit and veggie grower announced that weather events over the past few weeks had hit some of its plantings, particularly its orange crop in the Sunraysia region of Victoria.

“The full impact of these quality issues across the citrus portfolio on final pricing outcomes and second half earnings cannot be determined until the citrus season is further progressed,” the company said.

The big banks were mostly lower, with NAB falling 1.2 per cent to $27.77, ANZ down 0.5 per cent to $22.59, Westpac down 0.1 per cent to $19.94 and CBA essentially flat at $92.55.

The Australian dollar meanwhile was buying 68.07 US cents, from 68.20 US cents on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed on Monday 75.8 points lower, or 1.14 per cent, at 6,602.2.

* The broader All Ordinaries dropped 84.4 points, or 1.23 per cent, to 6,792.6.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 68.04 US cents, from 68.20 US cents at Friday’s close

* 93.19 Japanese yen, from 92.66 yen

* 67.21 Euro cents, from 67.33 cents

* 56.88 British pence, from 56.95 pence

* 110.45 NZ cents, from 110.76 cents

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