The Australian share market has closed in the red for a fifth consecutive session, dragged down by a downbeat lead from Wall Street and as a reading of consumer confidence in Australia fell to its lowest level since July.
The All Ordinaries Index closed at its lows of the day, down 36.7 points or 0.7 per cent to 5109.5.
Financial, mining and energy players were all a drag on sentiment while the industrials sector fell by 0.9 per cent. Car maker Holden today announced it would cease production in Australia in 2017, blaming the high Australian dollar in part for making the cost of business prohibitive.
Qantas (QAN) shares rebounded a little, a day after falling to an all-time low. QAN closed at 96.5c yesterday, its lowest level since privatisation occurred in 1995. Analysts are forecasting an annual loss of around $428 million for the national carrier. QAN added 2.6 per cent today to 99c while Virgin Australia (VAH) closed steady at 37c.
Australian based miner Oz Minerals (OZL) today delivered a gloomy production outlook sending its share price to near 13 year lows. OZL closed down 14 per cent to $2.65.
Bio-technology start-up DorsaVi (DVL) closed steady at its issue price of 40c on its stock market debut.
In economic news, the Westpac/Melbourne Institute index of consumer confidence fell by 5.3 points (4.8 per cent) from a near 3-year high of 110.3 points in November to a 5-month low of 105.0 points in December. Confidence fell in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland but rose in Western Australia.
On the market overall, a total of 1.7 billion shares changed hands, worth $4.5 billion. 374 were up, 508 were down and 368 were unchanged.
At 5pm AEDT the SFE 200 Futures was at 5115, down 32pts.
The Australian dollar ended the day's session at US 91.3c.
Ahead tonight, the weekly mortgage market index and monthly federal budget data is issued in the US.
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