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Investors stay on the sidelines as US takes break

THE sharemarket closed slightly lower yesterday, as many investors stayed away with Wall Street closed for a public holiday.

THE sharemarket closed slightly lower yesterday, as many investors stayed away with Wall Street closed for a public holiday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 12.6 points, or 0.27 per cent, at 4598.1, and the broader All Ordinaries Index fell 13.5 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 4656.9. The September Share Price Index futures contract was 17 points lower at 4579, with 21,881 contracts traded. The Independence Day public holiday in the US meant there was no lead from Wall Street and local volumes were consequently well below average.

A Shaw Stockbroking senior dealer, Jamie Spiteri, said the local market's recent gains had been driven primarily by a stronger Wall Street.

"With the US market closed, the local market lost some of that impetus," Mr Spiteri said.

The dampening effect on investor confidence of Monday's weaker-than-expected building approvals and retail data may also have carried over, given a lack of other market-moving influences.

The Reserve Bank's decision to leave rates on hold yesterday was widely expected.

Among the main resource stocks, BHP Billiton was up 21? at $44.23 and Rio Tinto gained 17? to $83.32.

The big banks lost ground, with National Australia Bank the worst performer, falling 28?, or 1.1 per cent, to $25.14. The Commonwealth fell 28? to $51.78, Westpac dropped 5? to $21.97 and ANZ slipped 1? to $21.93. Bank of Queensland faired better, rising 13?, or 1.6 per cent, at $8.45.

The grounding of Tiger Airways again benefited the share prices of its competitors, with Qantas the best performer among the market's top-100 stocks. Qantas gained 5?, or 2.54 per cent, to $2.02, while Virgin Blue was steady at 31.5?.

Shares in Macquarie Radio Network lost 4?, or 3.08 per cent, to $1.26 after it took a step towards acquiring eight regional Queensland radio station licences from the Smart Radio Network.

Treasury Wine Estates fell back after big gains on Monday on reports of a possible takeover bid from China. Treasury shares lost 8?, or 2.2 per cent, to $3.59.

The preliminary national turnover figure was 1.82 billion shares worth $3.96 billion.

ALL ORDS

AUSTRALIA

4656.9

13.5 (-0.3%)

HIGH 4686.5

LOW 4652.2

JULY 5 SOURCE: BLOOMBERG

WINNERS

OM Holdings 13.97%

Eastern Star Gas 6.61

Dart Energy 6.35

Qantas Airways 2.54

Bow Energy 2.14

Seven Group Holdings 1.89

OneSteel 1.85

Macmahon Holdings 1.79

OceanaGold cdi 1.58

Bank of Queensland 1.56

LOSERS

Murchison Metals -23.33%

Gryphon Minerals -4.81

Hills Holdings -3.61

Southern Cross Media -3.57

Bathurst Resources -3.14

Aquila Resources -3.10

Aston Resources -2.79

Aurora Oil & Gas -2.59

NRW Holdings -2.49

Asciano -2.43


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