|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives|
Resources Lead Shares Down
Melbourne, Australia, December 22, 2006 – SHARES ended Thursday trading down from Wednesday's record close, with resources proving a major drag.
The ASX200 fell 24.3 points at 5583.5, while the All Ordinaries was down 25.2 to 5561.7. The ASX200 earlier hit an intra-day high of 5608.5.
Macquarie equities adviser Helen Spencer said the resources sector, thanks to weaker commodity prices overnight, was the cause of the poor overall market.
"It is also an options expiry today, which can create a bit of volatility," Ms Spencer said.
The world's biggest miner, BHP Billiton, closed 48c lower at $25.29, while rival Rio Tinto lost $1.75 to $74.64.
Ms Spencer pointed to the gold sector as another negative influence, adding that the gold price wasn't too bad yesterday but had fallen overnight.
At the time the sharemarket closed the spot price of gold in Sydney was $US2.05 lower at $US620.70 a fine ounce.
Miners of the metal were down accordingly, Newcrest dipping 54c to $25.20 and Lihir back-pedaling 3c to $3.01. Newmont fell 14c to $5.86.
"There's a fair bit of volatility as we head into the holidays, with liquidity reducing," Ms Spencer added.
Banks were mixed, with NAB 15c higher at $40.26 and ANZ up 8c at $28.33, while the Commonwealth lost 26c to $48.59 and Westpac dropped 1c to $23.93.
Explosives, paint and chemicals maker Orica dropped 20c to $24.35 after saying it has had no takeover approaches from private equity groups.
National carrier Qantas was 4c weaker at $5.20 after boss Geoff Dixon confirmed it would receive 20 of the 555-seat A380 superjumbos next year.
Retailers were also mixed, with Australia's largest retailer Woolworths rising 35c to $23.32, Coles dipping 7c to $13.81 and David Jones remaining steady at $3.90. Miller's Retail, which became Specialty Fashion Group on December 1, needn't have bothered. It closed down 1c at $1.53, a full 10c below its last appearance under the old name.
The Australian bourse got little help from US stocks overnight, with prices edging lower in light volume. Selling of transport shares on a disappointing outlook from FedEx Corp offset early buying spurred by the latest round of global mergers.
Media shares were also generally lower, with PBL retreating 25c to $21.05, Fairfax shedding 5c to $4.78, and News Corp losing 15c, though its non-voting stock firmed 2c to $27.63.
Minerals explorer Halcyon Group had 124.5 million shares worth $2.7 million changing hands after it announced that it had intersected values of up to 3.6 per cent copper at one of its sites. But Halcyon finished just 0.1c higher at 2c. Still, it was lucky to be 1.5c last month.
Range Resources , the explorer with assets in the ancient Land of Punt, Somaliland, was up 0.3c to 2.9c on 20 million traded. A US investment group, Firebird, has taken a punt on it, acquiring 143 million shares, about 8 per cent.
Turnover was 1.86 billion shares worth $8.56 billion.