Miners drag share market lower

The Australian share market has closed lower after the major miners dragged on trade.

Local investors backed off a global rally spurred by better-than-expected Chinese export data after for December.

Official figures showed a spike in vegetable prices pushed the consumer price index to a seven-month high.

Analysts at TD Securities say the recent Chinese data means no more policy changes are on the way.

The market will now turn its attention to the country's growth figures, due next Friday.

The All Ordinaries index lost 11 points to finish at 4,734, while the ASX 200 index shed 0.3 per cent to 4,710.

Scepticism about the recent increase in the spot iron ore price has kept investors cautious about mining stocks.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both lost 2 per cent and Fortescue Metals slipped 2.5 per cent.

The gold miners got a boost from a recovery in the precious metal, with shares in Newcrest adding 0.9 per cent.

National Australia Bank is this year.

NAB is now tipping the cash rate will hit 2.25 per cent by September.

The bank's shares were the best of the big four, up 0.6 per cent.

ANZ has gone further; it expects the cash rate to hit 2 per cent this year.

Online job advertising firm Seek says it will increase its stake in the Chinese online employment classifieds company, Zhaopin Limited.

The move sent its shares 5.4 per cent higher to $7.65.

US futures markets are pointing to a flat start with focus likely to remain on the earnings season, which has been reasonably positive so far.

The Australian dollar lost steam after hitting a four-month high against the greenback overnight.

About 5:30pm AEDT, it was buying 105.82 US cents, 79.81 euro cents, 94.18 Japanese yen, 65.54 British pence and $NZ1.255.

Spot gold prices were worth around $US1673 an ounce, while West Texas intermediate crude oil had risen to $US93.81 a barrel.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9327-0.0005-0.05%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5555-0.0003-0.05%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6753-0.0003-0.05%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg