Friday, August 31, 2012

Australian stock market closed 8/31/2012

Australian stock market closed 8/31/2012, gold in Sydney, SP/ASX200 index, All Ordinaries index, : The Australian shares closed flat, with investors sidelined ahead of a global meeting of central bankers in the US over the weekend.

The benchmark SP/ASX200 index was up 0.4 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 4,316.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 1.2 points or 0.03 per cent to 4,339.

On the ASX 24, the September share price index futures contract was steady at 4,305 with 27,138 contracts traded.

RBS Morgans Ipswich manager Tony Russell said the market had been volatile of recent days but that the banking sector performed strongly on Friday.

'The market has had a fairly volatile time recently and that's due to a number of facts including local company results, other commodity prices,' Mr Russell said.

He said that traders were taking a wait-and-see approach to the highly anticipated speech in the United States by the US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke later on Friday night (Australian time) at Jackson Hole in Wyoming, where central bank chiefs from around the world had gathered.

'What the market is looking for will be some indication of whether quantitative easing is going to be introduced into the American economy,' Mr Russell said.

Among the big miners, BHP Billiton was down 20 cents at $31.79 and Rio Tinto was down 61 cents at $49.24, amid concerns about the slipping spot iron ore price and sluggish Chinese steel demand.

Fortescue Metals dipped five cents to $3.54.

Among the banks, Commonwealth Bank rose 76 cents at $54.74, Westpac was up one cent at $24.7 and National Australia Bank, was also up one cent, at $25.21.

ANZ fell 4 cents to $24.82.

Retailer Harvey Norman fell 5 cents to $2.05 following a 32 per cent dip in full year profit.

Regional newspaper group APN was down 10.5 cents, or 27 per cent, at 28.5 cents following the departure announcement of its longtime chief financial officer Peter Myers.

Newspaper publisher Fairfax Media set a fresh record close, at 42 cents.

There were 1.87 billion shares traded worth $6.43 billion, with 407 stocks up, 559 down and 318 steady.

The price of gold in Sydney closed at $US1,657.60 per fine ounce, up 18 US cents from $US1,657.42 on Thursday.

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