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Aust shares end strong week on low note

Christian Edwards
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Wall Street's negative sentiment looks set to spill over into Australia's share market

Wall Street's negative sentiment looks set to spill over into Australia's share market

Australian shares finished lower on Friday after losses concentrated in mining and energy stocks ended the market's run of recent gains.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 0.33 per cent at 6,029.4 points, with miners and oil producers the main drag on an index that has climbed six per cent since the beginning of October.

The S&P/ASX200 passed through the 6,000 point mark on Tuesday and finished 1.2 per cent higher for the week.

Phillip Capital senior client adviser Michael Heffernan said investors needn't be concerned by Friday's retreat as the market has gained two per cent during November.

"I don't see any black clouds on the horizon, the momentum is with the market - we've got low interest rates and a low dollar - and we've done all of this despite political paralysis," Mr Heffernan said, in a reference to the citizenship crisis that is threatening the Turnbull government's hold on parliament.

Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, closed down two per cent and 2.3 per cent at $28.07 and $72.95 respectively, as weaker-than-expected Chinese import data and falling iron ore futures prices hit the materials sector.

Newcrest Mining was 0.2 per cent higher, at $23.18 on strengthening gold prices.

Santos shares were down at the end by 3.4 per cent, at $4.49 as investors pulled back after the oil and gas producer on Thursday flagged flat 2018 production but slightly lower sales volumes.

Woodside petroleum was one per cent lower, at $32.57 and Oil Search 1.3 per cent weaker, at $7.40 as concern over political developments in Saudi Arabia, and between the oil-rich nation and Lebanon, shaded global oil markets.

Of the major banks, only Westpac posted gains, up 0.2 per cent, at $33.24

Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank lost 0.1 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively, while ANZ ended the day flat, at $30.33.

In company news, News Corp shares shot to a near-two-year high, up 86 cents, or 4.6 per cent to $19.70, after the media giant almost doubled first-quarter earnings led by growth in its digital real estate services business and its news division.

Shares in REA Group, gained 1.7 per cent, to $76.17 after the owner of posted a 24 per cent improvement in September quarter earnings.

The Australian dollar dipped early in the local session after the Reserve Bank of Australia, delivering its November Statement on Monetary Policy, signalled a possible longer hold on interest rates due to defiantly low inflation.

However the Aussie recovered and maintained some strength against a weakened US dollar after investors baulked at emerging details of the US Senate Republicans' version of long awaited tax reform.

The local currency was trading at 76.87 US cents at 1700 AEDT, up from 76.79 on Thursday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 20 points, or 0.33 per cent, at 6,029.4 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 18.1 points, or 0.3 per cent, at 6,104.3 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was down 12 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 6,031 points.

* National turnover was 5.3 billion securities traded worth $5.2 billion.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 76.87 US cents, from 76.79 on Thursday

* 87.206 Japanese yen, from 87.22 yen

* 66.01 euro cents, from 66.18 euro cents

* 58.47 British pence, from 58.47 pence

* 110.72 NZ cents, from 110.39 cents


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,284.71 per fine ounce, from $US1,283.66 per fine ounce on Thursday.


* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.853pct, unchanged from Thursday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.5487pct, unchanged

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* December 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.365 (implying a yield of 2.635pct), from 97.385 (implying a yield of 2.615pct) on Thursday

* December 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.03 (1.97pct), from 98.04 (1.96pct).

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