The Financial Express

Australian shares drop off after 10-year high

Australian shares drop off after 10-year high

Australian shares eased back on Wednesday from the near 10-year high seen in the previous session, tracking a subdued Wall Street.

The US House of Representatives initially passed the tax legislation in a Tuesday afternoon vote, but the bill included provisions that did not comply with Senate rules.

The Senate was expected to vote on a revised version of the bill, with the offending provisions removed. If the Senate approves the bill as expected, the House will vote again on Wednesday.

The bill, which includes generous tax cuts for big businesses, had buoyed US stocks ahead of the vote, but modest selling started once traders saw the bill’s likely benefits as fully priced in.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 2.2 points at 6074 by 0117 GMT. It rose 0.5 per cent on Tuesday, scaling a near 10-year high.

Real estate, alongside healthcare, was the biggest decliners on the main board with retail property manager Scentre Group losing 0.7 per cent.

Healthcare giant CSL Ltd lost 0.8 per cent and was one of the biggest drags on the benchmark. A 1.2 per cent decline for toll road operator Transurban Groups loss was a blow to the industrials sector.

Materials stocks partially offset losses elsewhere with global miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton gaining 0.1 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively.

Theme park operator Ardent Leisure Group was the top gainer on the index, jumping 7.5 per cent after selling its bowling and entertainment division for A$160 mln.

Shares of mining contractor Downer EDI Ltd rose 1.8 per cent after news that it secured a mining services contract at the Gruyere Gold Project worth about A$400 million.

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