The Australian sharemarket couldn't make it three consecutive sessions of gains today, with the All Ordinaries Index slipping by 0.61 per cent or 31.4 pts to 5128.6. The mining and energy sectors continue to underperform the broader market. Both industries combined account for around ¼ of the Australian sharemarket.
Tim Wimborne / Reuters
People look at market display indicators through the window of the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney
Australia's largest bank, Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is coming close to taking over the country's largest miner BHP Billiton (BHP) in market capitalisation terms. Both companies are worth around $114B on the local market.
NSW based coal miner Whitehaven Coal (WHC) has won environmental approval for the expansion of a mine in Northern NSW which is expected to extend the life of the mine by around 13 years. WHC shares still fell by more than 5 per cent today.
On the economic front today, a survey has shown that business confidence surprisingly worsened in January. The Australian market pulled back modestly in reaction. CommSec's Chief Economist Craig James said that "The surprisingly soft business survey isn't of immediate concern."
There has also been a record fall in credit card debt in January, with Australians preferring using their own cash via debit cards.
Fuel prices have fallen for the second consecutive week, with the national average price of unleaded petrol falling by 1 cent to 149.9c/l. Petrol prices are likely to fall by between 2-3c/l over the next fortnight due to a drop in wholesale prices. This could save motorists around $3-$4 on an average tank full of fuel.
Volume of shares traded came in at 1.6 billion today, worth just $3.9 billion. 381 shares were up, 611 were weaker and 356 ended unchanged.
Futures are pointing to a weaker start to trade in both the U.S and Europe tonight. .
Looking ahead to tonight, manufacturing production, a trade balance and industrial production will all be issued in the U.K while the American Federal Budget balance will also be released.
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