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Investors look to European summit

THE stockmarket closed marginally lower yesterday, as early gains were erased before tomorrow's European summit.

THE stockmarket closed marginally lower yesterday, as early gains were erased before tomorrow's European summit.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index slipped 3 points to 4141.9, while the broader All Ordinaries eased 3.4 points to 4203.4.

An IG Markets strategist, Stan Shamu, said hopes of a solution to the European debt crisis dominated trading.

"Despite early gains, we have since seen a reversal as investors position themselves ahead of the European summit," he said in a research note. "The miners have been sold off over the past few sessions, tracking metals prices lower."

Mr Shamu said many investors were taking a "wait and see" approach before a second EU summit on Wednesday, with French and German leaders flagging a global and ambitious answer to the region's debt problems.

Making news yesterday, Woodside Petroleum increased third quarter revenues by 27 per cent as higher commodity prices offset lower production. The stock ended 22? down at $33.38.

Other energy stocks fared better. Oil Search rose 7? to $5.88, while Santos was up 5? at $12.12.

Among the big miners, BHP Billiton rose 22? to $35.70, Rio Tinto fell 28? to $62.57 and Fortescue fell 6? to $4.25.

The big retail banks finished mixed, with ANZ up 9? at $21.21 and NAB rising 4? to $24.32, while Commonwealth Bank fell 17? to $47.55 and Westpac fell 3? to $21.50. Investment bank Macquarie Group fell 47? to $22.53.

Coles owner Wesfarmers fell for a second day, closing down 54?, or 1.7 per cent, at $31.

Supermarket rival Woolworths, which is due to release quarterly sales results next week, fell 53?, or 2.16 per cent, to $24.06.

Turnover was 1.54 billion shares worth $4.13 billion.

ALL ORDS

4203.4

AUSTRALIA

3.4 (-0.1%)

HIGH 4228.3

LOW 4193.5

OCT 21

SOURCE: BLOOMBERG


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