Aust shares close sharply lower

The Australian share market has closed sharply lower after overseas markets fell on the European Central Bank's latest economic stimulus.

European and US markets suffered heavy falls after the the ECB failed to meet analyst hopes for greater stimulus.

Phillip Capital senior client adviser Michael Heffernan said the Australian share market could not shake off strong negative leads from overseas despite positive local retail sales data on Friday.

"The overseas markets drove the place today," he said.

"The European market got a belting overnight and so did the US market after ECB president Mario Draghi didn't do what the market had expected."

He said while Mr Draghi extended the central bank's bond purchasing program to March 2017, he did not increase the amount of monthly purchases beyond the money that is being reinvested as the market had anticipated.

In local news, Australian Bureau of Statistics' data show retail spending rose 0.5 per cent in October, and is up almost four per cent in the 12 months to October.

At 1615 AEDT, the major banks were all lower with ANZ down 70 cents at $27.11, Commonwealth Bank shed $1.28 to $80.22, Westpac lost 61 cents to $32.30, while National Australia Bank dropped 43 cents to $29.61.

The big miners were also down, with Rio Tinto $1.21 lower at $44.38, BHP Billiton down 26 cents at $17.93 and Fortescue Mining Group minus 2.5 cents at $1.895.

Electronics retailer Dick Smith was down one cent, or 2.5 per cent, at 39 cents after two profit downgrades has led to a share price slide that has reduced its market value to a level that it no longer has a spot on the Australian share market's top 200 companies list.


* At the close on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 76.1 points, or 1.46 per cent, at 5,151.6 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 75.2 points, or 1.43 per cent, at 5,201.5 points.

* The December share price index futures contract was down 72 points at 5,159 points, with 35,294 contracts traded.

* The price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,062.40 per fine ounce, up $US8.70 on Thursday's price of $US1,053.70.

* National turnover was 1.7 billion securities worth $4.9 billion.

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