EVENING REPORT (5pm AEDT)
The Australian share market joined Wall Street and other Asian markets to close in the red today, as profit takers moved in following a solid 2013 for investors.
The US Dow Jones Index closed lower on the first trading day of 2014, after delivering a 26.5 per cent return for investors last year.
Most sectors closed in the red on the local share market, with the All Ords closing down 18 points or 0.3 per cent to 5351.8 points.
Over the course of the shortened and disrupted trading week, our market rose 0.5 per cent.
It was not only a weak lead from Wall Street but also fears of a slowdown in China which weighed on sentiment. Chinese non-manufacturing PMI was released today, showing a reading of 54.6 points in December, down from 56 points. That was the lowest reading since August.
In company news, Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox (FOX) announced the sale of its 47 per cent stake in Star China TV which operates three Mandarin TV stations, for an undisclosed sum. FOX shares rose 0.7 per cent today to $38.97.
The world's largest money manager BlackRock emerged today as a new substantial shareholder of mining services company Forge Group (FGE), explaining the company's recent share price hike. FGE fell 6.6 per cent today to $1.42.
Gold has had its best week since October and in Asian trade was buying US$1230 an ounce.
On the market overall, a total of 1.3 billion shares changed hands, with a value of $2.2 billion. 393 shares were up, 459 were down and 316 were unchanged.
At 4.30pm AEDT the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5319, down 26 points or 0.5 per cent.
The Aussie dollar ended the session at US89.79c.
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