ASX Closes Lower as Disappointing Earnings Weigh Heavily on Westpac
Australia stock market traded low on May 2 with the benchmark S&P ASX 200 finishing lower by 0.18% at 5,243 points.
Shares in Australia’s third largest lender, Westpac, closed down 3.54% on the Sydney stock market, after having lost as much as 5.7% earlier in the session.
Westpac reported a 3% rise in profits for the six months to March 2016.
Earnings rose to A$3.9 billion ($2.96 billion), however industry analysts were expecting the figure to come in just above A$4 billion.
Westpac has attributed the shortfall to higher debt charges.
Also in Australia, the country’s Treasurer Scott Morrison will deliver the federal budget for 2016-2017 on May 3. According to local media, there will be tax cuts for business in the budget.
However, ahead of the budget, the country’s central bank – The Reserve Bank of Australia – will hold its annual meeting on interest rates.
The key lending rate in Australia is at a record low of 2%.