The Australian share market is trading higher on the first trading day of 2014, gaining half of one per cent in the early session albeit on low trading volumes.
Over the course of 2013, the ASX 200 rose 15.1 per cent, making it the best return since 2009.
The US Dow Jones Index fared better, closing out 2013 on a record high, with an annual gain of 26.5 per cent. That was the best year for US investors since 1997.
On our market, the media sector was the best performer of 2013, rising 64.2 per cent. Diversified financial stocks also did well for investors, rising 49.6 per cent while retailers rose 35.5 per cent.
Consumer durables and apparel was the worst performing sector in 2013, falling 50.4 per cent. Capital goods fell 17.5 per cent while food beverage and tobacco were down 10 per cent.
The materials (mining) sector was the fourth worst performing on the market, falling 3.7 per cent.
The Nymex oil price rose 7.2 per cent in 2013, while the gold price fell 28.3 per cent last year snapping a 12 year winning streak. Iron ore was in focus over 2013 and fell 7.4 per cent in the past 12 months.
Over 2013 the cash rate (official interest rate) averaged 2.75 per cent. That was the lowest for a calendar year since 1959.
On the market overall, a total of 448 million shares have changed hands so far today, with a value of $625 million. 439 are up, 228 are down and 288 are unchanged.
The Australian dollar is holding at US89c. It is also buying £0.5372 and €64.73c.
At 12pm AEDT the SFE 200 Futures Index is at 5350, up 32 points or 0.6 per cent.
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