Aust stocks close lower

Local market slips after Rio Tinto announces reduction in capital expenditure.

The Australian stock market closed lower today as the major miners weighed on the market as Rio Tinto announced a reduction in capital expenditure.

At the 1615 AEDT official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index lost 0.44% to 5,256.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 0.45% to 5,249.6 points.

IG analyst Stan Shamu said the market had a poor day, with falls in the large miners and banks pushing the index lower.

"The release of Rio's capex guidance is a perfect illustration of why mining services companies are experiencing such a major downturn," Mr Shamu said.

"Up until October this year, Rio withdrew $800 million in exploration and evaluation spending, $50 million more than forecast.

"The company is also looking at cutting capex by almost 50% in two years."

Rio is also looking at stripping out copper assets that do not meet its criteria, leaving four low-cost, long-life operations, Mr Shamu said.

"Surpringly the mining services companies held their ground fairly well, potentially because they’ve already been significantly sold off this year."

Mr Shamu also noted that gold miners have languished today as the metal continues to fall.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia left the official cash rate on hold at a record low 2.5% at its December board meeting.

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