Aust stocks close little changed

Local market ends flat amid thin trading volumes, China concerns.

By a staff reporter

The Australian stock market closed little changed today amid thin trading volumes and following weak leads overnight.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index inched down 0.15% to 5317 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index edged down 0.17% to 5318.8 points.

IG market analyst Chris Weston said gold stocks had declined in the session as traders took some profits, while resources weakened on China concerns.

“Gold stocks have seen profit-taking despite gold holding ground and continuing to eye $1250.

“The resource space seems to be taking its cues from China, which of course won’t surprise anyone; however traders are punishing equities, without the same price action seen in the underlying commodity space,” Mr Weston said.

Materials were lower, with the major miners posting steep losses.

BHP Billiton declined 0.93% to $37.21, while rival Rio Tinto lost 2.58% to $66.00.

Fortescue Metals slumped 4.73% to $5.44 and Newcrest slid 0.46% to $8.58.

Whitehaven Coal retreated 3.14% to $1.85, while Santos inclined 0.14% to $14.35.

Oil Search increased 0.25% to $8.05 and Woodside Petroleum slipped 0.11% to $37.66.

Financials were mixed.

ANZ slipped 0.41% to $31.86, while Commonwealth Bank rose 0.15% to $77.72.

National Australia Bank slid 0.14% to $34.50, while Westpac retreated 0.12% to $32.08.

Investment bank Macquarie Group declined 1.43% to $54.79.

In insurance, IAG rose 0.52% to $5.77, while Suncorp closed flat at $13.05. QBE added 1.19% to $11.87.

The retail sector was also mixed.

Woolworths slipped 0.12% to $33.76, while Wesfarmers inclined 0.09% to $43.67.

Myer was flat at $2.73, while rival David Jones also closed flat at $2.98.

Harvey Norman rose 0.62% to $3.22, while JB Hi-Fi slipped 0.33% to $21.38.

In media, Fairfax Media lost 0.77% to 64.5 cents, 21st Century Fox retreated 0.44% to $38.20 and News Corp fell 0.15% to $19.78.

Ten Network rose 1.61% to 31.5 cents, while Seven West slid 0.43% to $2.32 and Southern Cross Media inclined 0.89% to $1.695.

Telstra rose 0.19% to $5.28, while Qantas closed flat at $1.09.