EVENING REPORT (5pm AEDT)
The Australian share market finished slightly higher today, but still lost ground over the week as investors around the globe remained concerned about emerging markets.
The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) added 5.7 points to 5205 on Friday.
Over the course of the month, the market fell 2.8 per cent - the worst start to a calendar year since January 2010 when the market fell 6 per cent.
In company news, David Jones (DJS) was a standout, rising 4.2 per cent to $2.99 after the upmarket retailer confirmed it had rejected a merger approach from rival Myer Limited (MYR). MYR shares fell 1.6 percent today to $2.53. MYR told the ASX the merger would have maximised the value of DJS property assets and generated $85 million of costs savings.
In economic news, private sector credit (lending) rose by 0.5 per cent in December after a 0.3 per cent lift in November. Annual credit growth rose from 3.8 to 3.9 per cent. Housing credit is up 5.4 per cent on a year ago, the strongest annual growth in two years. Business and consumer credit recorded a healthy lift.
Bank term deposits fell by 0.6 per cent in the year to December, marking the first fall in over a decade (March 2003).
The broad measure of business inflation, the producer price index (PPI), or final stage prices, rose by a subdued 0.2 per cent in the December quarter to stand 1.9 per cent higher than a year ago
On the market overall, a total of 2.2 billion shares changed hands, worth $5.5 billion. 494 closed higher, 410 lower and 390 were unchanged.
At 4.30pm AEDT the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5143, up 5 points.
Ahead tonight, consumer sentiment, personal spending, employment costs and the Chicago purchasing managers index are due for release in the US.
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