Share market losses offset mining gains

The share market closed slightly lower in a quiet day of trade, with losses in health, bank and energy sectors offsetting solid gains in the mining sector.

The All Ordinaries lost seven points to close at 4,588 while the ASX 200 fell 10 points to 4,573.

The major mining shares saw a boost from the ninth consecutive rise in iron ore prices overnight which was back up to $US129.30 - nearly a five-month high.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto both gained 0.8 per cent and shares in Australia's third biggest iron ore miner, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), closed 3.7 per cent higher at $4.47.

The rise for FMG came after the company revealed it was .

FMG said potential buyers were attracted to the fact the company was the only provider of third-party infrastructure in the region.

The big four banks slipped in trade, with Westpac taking the biggest fall down 0.9 per cent.

The Commonwealth, NAB and ANZ all lost at least 0.5 per cent.

Shares in the , after hitting a two-month high of $1.01 on speculation a former company executive has made a bid for the firm.

Billabong is expected to make a statement about a possible takeover offer soon.

Fairfax Media closed up 1 per cent at 52 cents after it said it would , for $600 million.

Fairfax said it would use the proceeds to pay off debt.

Telstra put in a strong performance, rising 0.9 per cent to $4.29.

Shortly before 5pm (AEDT), the Australian dollar was down against the greenback and was buying 105.43 US cents, 80 euro cents, 88.5 Japanese yen and 65.04 British pence.

Spot gold was lower at just under $US1,692 an ounce, while West Texas crude oil was relatively steady at $US86.30 a barrel and Tapis crude slipped to $US113.88 a barrel.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.9276-0.0089-0.95%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.5526-0.004-0.71%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.6706-0.0078-1.15%
    AUDEUR=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg