The Australian share market has closed lower, led by a sharp sell-off in healthcare stocks and a fall in energy stocks.
The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index recovered some losses after falling nearly one per cent during early morning trade to finish 0.4 per cent lower on Monday.
Morgans Brisbane senior private client adviser Bill Chatterton said a flat performance from Wall Street on Friday and a fall in oil prices early on Monday morning sparked a sell-off on the local bourse.
Oil prices dropped after Iraq said it did not want to be part of any deal by Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production to bolster prices.
But the biggest losses came from healthcare stocks following hospital operator Healthscope's disappointing first quarter revenue update which sparked growth concerns for the sector, Mr Chatterton said.
"The US market gave us a soft lead, then weaker oil prices had a significant impact," he said.
"The sharpest sell-off came from healthcare after Healthscope revealed at their AGM on Friday first quarter results that were nowhere near expectations.
"And this has had a flow-on effect across the sector."
Shares in Healthscope, which slid nearly 19 per cent on Friday after the private hospital operator said hospital revenue growth had been slower than expected in the first quarter, gave up another 14 cents, or 5.88 per cent, to finish $2.24.
Elsewhere in the heatlhcare sector, hearing implant maker Cochlear tumbled $5.74, or 4.25 per cent, to $129.36, and blood products company CSL fell $1.53, or 1.47 per cent, to $102.53.
As for the major energy stocks, Santos declined 11 cents, or 2.86 per cent, to $3.73, Woodside Petroleum dropped 31 cents, or 1.06 per cent, to $28.99, Origin Energy shed six cents, or 1.07 per cent, to $5.55 and Oil Search fell 14 cents, or 1.97 per cent, to $6.98.
The major miners were higher with Rio Tinto up 28 cents at $51.23 and BHP Billiton adding five cents to $23.08.
Supercheap Auto and Amart Sports owner the Super Retail Group dumped 32 cents, or 3.02 per cent, to $10.28 after its first quarter sales results were below expectations.
The major banks were mixed, with ANZ up eight cents to $28.33, Westpac up 14 cents to $30.57, the Commonwealth Bank down 23 cents to $74.67 and National Australia Bank slipping 11 cents to $27.63.
* At 1615 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 21.8 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 5,408.5 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 24.8 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 5,489.1 points.
* The December share price index futures contract was down 11 points at 5,390 points, with 32,358 contracts traded.
* National turnover was 2.49 billion securities traded, worth $5 billion.
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