Aust stocks close weaker

Local market falls as investors worry about Iraq conflict and fall in iron ore price.

The Australian sharemarket closed weaker today as investors worry about fresh falls in the iron ore price and growing conflict in Iraq.

At the 4.15pm (AEST) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 23.7 points, or 0.44%, to 5,405.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 24.2 points, or 0.45%, to 5,383.7 points.

Overnight, the iron ore price slipped to $US91.50 a tonne, its lowest point since September 2012, while oil prices rose on increasing conflict in oil-producing Iraq.

CMC chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the lift in oil prices provided support for local energy stocks today, the standout sector on the market.

Local gold shares also got a boost on the back of a rise in the gold price.

"We see this when there's a rise in geopolitical tensions, gold finds support as a safe haven investment. With the potential for war in the Middle East, we're seeing support for gold," Mr McCarthy said. 

He expects European bourses to fall overnight amid investor caution, with further falls possible in the local session on Monday.

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