Listed gold miners were the exception to the broader rule with the ASX All Ords gold index soaring 6.75 per cent, the largest one-day percentage gain since November 9, 2016. The biggest gain was a 10.3 per cent rise in Resolute Mining, but the most points were added by a 4.6 per cent rise in Newcrest Mining from $34.45 up to $36.05. Evolution Mining also rose, up 9 per cent $5.33.
By sector, energy suffered the largest decline at 3.1 per cent, weighed down by weakness in crude oil prices which briefly fell to a one-week low in early Asian trade. Healthcare and information technology both posted falls of 2 per cent while consumer discretionary slid by a smaller 1.5 per cent.
Elsewhere, all other sectors fell by between 1 to 1.2 per cent for the session.
Gold hits record highs
The gold price hit record highs of $US1550 ($2320), as investors look for somewhere to store wealth other than risky equities and low interest rate accounts. Demand from domestic retail investors has been high over the last few months, according to business development manager at gold dealer ABC Bullion, John Feeney.
"There is definitely a lot more interest, but 90 per cent on the buy-side,'' he says. Buying volumes are two to three times higher than usual as investors seek an exposure to gold. He has not seen much increase in people who own gold trying to cash in at the record high prices.
The global general manager at ABC Bullion, Nick Frapell, says gold prices will keep rising.
"Once the rally got above the $US1530 level that opened the way for a move upwards. Now that we have got through $US1530, actually where it is going is $US1590...