SYDNEY, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The Australian share market has finished lower on Thursday, with sharp declines in energy stocks and the financials sector dragging on the index.
At the close of trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 18.90 points or 0.29 percent at 6,491.80, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 13.80 points or 0.21 percent at 6,584.30.
Although, consumer stocks, industrials and info tech shares posted firm gains during today's session, a three-week low in oil prices weighed heavy on the energy sector.
Financial stocks also came under heavy selling pressure.
"It is worth pointing out that the market has risen for each of the last six sessions," Commsec market analyst Tom Piotrowski told investors in a market update.
"So you could make a reasonable case for the market consolidating, and I think that is what we are seeing in the banking space."
There was good fortune for some iron ore-focused mining stocks however, with prices of the commodity up around 2.5 percent to reach a new five-year high.
In financials, Australia's big banks plummeted with the Commonwealth Bank down (1.08 percent), Westpac Bank down (2.26 percent), National Australia Bank down (1.42 percent) and ANZ down (1.55 percent).
Mining stocks varied with BHP down (1.97 percent), Rio Tinto down (0.71 percent), Fortescue Metals up (0.97 percent) and gold miner Newcrest up (0.52 percent).
The country's oil and gas producers slumped with Woodside Petroleum down (1.10 percent), Santos down (2.04 percent) and Oil Search down (1.81 percent).
Australia's largest supermarket chains saw mixed results with Wesfarmers up (1.56 percent) and Woolworths down (0.44 percent).
While telecommunications giant Telstra shot up (0.56 percent), the national carrier Qantas lifted (0.37 percent) and biomedical firm CSL dipped (0.23 percent).