Friday, March 23, 2012

Australian share market BHP Billiton closed March 23 2012

Australian share market BHP Billiton closed March 23 2012, spot gold price in Sydney March 23 2012 : The Australian share market managed to claw back most of its early losses to close flat after negative offshore leads and lower commodity prices overnight. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 3.3 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 4,270.4 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index eased 4.2 points, or 0.1 per cent to 4,360.7 points.

At 1656 AEDT, the June share price index futures contract was down 10 points at 4,285 points with 26,555 contracts traded.

US and European stock markets fell overnight, along with most commodities, on news that euro zone private sector activity fell more sharply than expected in March.

In China, data showed manufacturing activity fell to a four-month low.

RBS Morgans private client adviser Craig Walker said resources stocks were by far the biggest weight on the market.

"If you take resources stocks out of equation, the market would have been well up," he said.

BHP Billiton was down 40 cents, or 1.15 per cent, at $34.40, Rio Tinto gave up 97 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $63.70 and Fortescue Metals Group slipped eight cents, or 1.32 per cent, to $6.00.

Sands miner Iluka dropped 55 cents, or 3.15 per cent, to $16.90.

Australia's largest gold miner Newcrest backtracked 35 cents, or 1.19 per cent, to $29.00 after a substantial shareholder reduced its stake by more than one per cent.

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1640 AEST was $US1,642.90 per fine ounce, down $US7.00 from Thursday's local close of $US1,649.90.

In the energy sector, Woodside put on 48 cents, or 1.38 per cent, to $35.37 and Santos was 13 cents cheaper at $14.28.

Mr Walker said bank stocks held up well while the healthcare sector was a solid performer.

The big four banks opened weaker, but by the end of the session only National Australia Bank was in the red, down four cents at $24.35.

In the healthcare space, CSL added 54 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to $34.22 while Ramsay Health Care appreciated 57 cents, or 3.11 per cent, to $18.91.

Elsewhere, Premier Investments rose 25 cents, or 4.9 per cent, to $5.35 despite reporting a 2.4 per cent slide in first half profit.

Paperlinx dropped 2.4 cents, or 20 per cent, to 9.6 cents after Harry Boon narrowly survived an attempt to unseat him as chairman.

Rail operator QR National shed 12 cents, or 3.08 per cent, to $3.77 after cutting its full year earnings forecast due to ongoing industrial action, weaker demand for coal transport and wet weather.

Preliminary market turnover was 2.14 billion shares worth $4.13 billion, with 442 stocks up, 523 down and 429 steady.For the latest updates on the stock market, visit Stock Market Today

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