Mining, utility stocks drag local market down

The share market has closed lower, dragged down by losses in mining and utility stocks.

The market struggled from the open, but extended losses in late trade after the Reserve Bank eased the official interest rate by 25 basis points to equal its record low of 3 per cent.

The All Ordinaries fell 0.6 per cent to finish at 4,512 and the ASX 200 matched that loss, down to 4,504.

Bank shares were in focus after the rates decision; NAB lost 0.2 per cent to $24.25, and the remaining big three each lost around 0.5 per cent.

Retail shares had a mixed reaction to the Christmas rate cut; David Jones added 0.4 per cent and Myer finished flat, but there were steeper losses for other consumer exposed companies.

Turning to the mining sector; Fortescue Metals slid 2.4 per cent to $3.67.

BHP Billiton lost 0.8 per cent, Rio Tinto fell 0.2 per cent.

Graincorp was among the top performers today.

It closed up 3.2 per cent to $12.32 after its US suitor, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), boosted its takeover offer for the grain handling company.

The US food giant is now offering $12.20 a share for the last independent grain handler left in Australia.

ADM also increased its stake in Graincorp to just below the 20 per cent level, at which it would have to make a formal bid for the whole company.

And this week's rush of data continues to paint a weak picture of Australia's economy.

Bureau of Statistics figures show the current account slid further into deficit in the September quarter, driven by a 5 per cent fall in exports of goods and services.

The deficit rose by 20 per cent to $14.9 billion, which was slightly worse than expected.

And building approvals dropped sharply in October, down 7.6 per cent.

In currency trade, the dollar jumped after the Reserve Bank cut the official interest rate, but has since settled slightly.

Just before 5:30pm (AEDT) it was buying 104.4 US cents, 80 Euro cents, 85.7 Japanese yen and 64.9 British pence.

In commodity trade, spot gold was down to $US1,702 an ounce.

West Texas crude oil was slightly lower at $US88.70 a barrel and Tapis crude was worth $US115.50 a barrel.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9262-0.0025-0.27%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5512-0.0022-0.40%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6696-0.0025-0.37%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg