Australian Stock Market Report – Afternoon 12/12/13

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By Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst | December 12, 2013 6:40 PM EST

AFTERNOON REPORT
(5pm AEDT)

The Australian share market closed in the red for a sixth consecutive session today, weighed down by a weak offshore lead and downbeat day across the Asian region.

The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) rallied into the close to finish off the day's lows, but still down 40 points or 0.8 per cent to 5069.2.

So far over the course of this week, the market has fallen by 2.3 per cent.

Four of the country's biggest stocks were mostly responsible for the declines on our market today. The drop in BHP Billiton (BHP), Westpac (WBC), the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) and the ANZ (ANZ) caused about half of today's losses.

QBE Insurance (QBE) continued to be sold off in the wake of this week's shock profit warning. QBE shares fell another 5.5 per cent to $10.40.

Qantas (QAN) came close to all-time lows reached on Wednesday, down another two per cent today to 97c.

Oz Minerals (OZL) recouped some of yesterday's steep losses, in the wake of its gloomy trading update. Some analysts believe whilst OZL is facing short-term pain with its revised down CY14 production forecasts, longer term the future is brighter for the company with OZL investing in its future. OZL shares rose 12.1 per cent today to $2.97.

In economic news, employment rose by 21,000 in November after a revised 700 fall in jobs in October. Full-time jobs rose by 15,500 in November and part-time jobs rose by 5,500. Unemployment edged up to 5.8 per cent.

On the market overall, a total of 2 billion shares changed hands, worth $6.4 billion. 357 were up, 568 were down and 334 were unchanged.

At 4.45pm AEDT the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5057, down 58pts.

Ahead tonight, weekly jobless claims and retail sales data are issued in the US.

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