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Wednesday 20

June, 2018 1:21 PM



Australian shares close 2017 on down note

Australian shares close 2017 on down note

The Australian share market has closed lower during the quiet Christmas-New Year holiday period.

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By AAP 29.12.2017 05:03 PM

Australian shares have closed lower on the last trading session for the year, with almost all sectors in negative territory.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 stock index was down 0.38 per cent at 6065.1 points, with the mining-related materials and healthcare sectors the only two to close higher.

The move meant the ASX200 gained seven per cent in 2017.

CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said the share market has reversed gains it made the day before amid soft holiday trading volumes.

"We have seen a soft close to the year but this has been the case for at least the past three years," Mr Spooner said.

"The market has been in a neutral mode this week, while it's down today, it was up yesterday and the net effect of that is a sideways movement."

Mr Spooner said the Reserve Bank's private sector credit data released on Friday were in line with previous releases and expectations.

The lack of economic news and a lacklustre lead from Wall Street combined to lead the share market lower, he added.

A rise in commodity prices, including a modest lift in crude oil to near two-and-a-half year highs and a surge in copper which hit a four-year peak overnight, did bolster some miners and energy companies.

BHP Billiton gained 0.2 per cent to $29.57, Rio Tinto rose 1.2 per cent to $75.81, while Fortescue Metals was down 1.2 per cent at $4.88.

Among the energy companies, Santos was up 0.7 per cent, Oil Search edged 0.1 per cent higher, but Woodside Petroleum was 0.3 per cent lower and Origin Energy dropped 1.2 per cent.

The big four banks also weighed on the index with Westpac the worst performer, losing 0.6 per cent.

National Australian Bank was down 0.3 per cent, and Commonwealth Bank and ANZ each fell 0.2 per cent.

QBE shares lost 0.3 per cent, to $10.68, after the insurance giant announced it had agreed to pay $132.5 million to settle a class action launched by shareholders who were angry about a plunge in its share price in 2013.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was steady at a two-month high, hovering around 78 US cents after the greenback fell to a four-week low.

The local currency was up 0.06 cents from Thursday at 78.03 US cents at 1700 AEDT on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed down 23 points, or 0.38 per cent, at 6,065.1 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 22.1 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 6,167.3

* The SPI200 futures contract was down 25 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 6,021

* National turnover was 2.2 billion securities traded worth $2.8 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 78.03 US cents, from 77.97 cents on Thursday

* 87.94 Japanese yen, from 87.93 yen

* 65.31 euro cents, from 65.34 euro cents

* 57.97 British pence, from 58.02 pence

* 109.84 NZ cents, from 109.96 cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,295.70 per fine ounce, from $USX per fine ounce on Thursday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.Xpct, from 2.0736pct

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.Xpct, from 2.6419pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.34 (implying a yield of 2.66pct), from 97.305 (2.695pct) on Thursday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.84 (2.16pct), from 97.805 (2.195pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)

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