Jobs data and US Fed weigh on stocks

THE sharemarket closed lower yesterday after disappointing jobs figures added to investor gloom.

THE sharemarket closed lower yesterday after disappointing jobs figures added to investor gloom.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 28.5 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 4068.

Statistics released yesterday showed total employment fell by 27,000 last month while the unemployment rate rose to 5.2 per cent, from 5.1 per cent in May.

Investor sentiment was also dampened by the release of the US Federal Reserve's meeting minutes overnight, which disappointed traders hoping for signs of another round of economic stimulus in the US.

City Index chief market analyst Peter Esho said the market had fallen in the wake of the jobs figures and negative trading on sharemarkets around the region.

"I think the composition of the jobs report caught a few people off guard, so that was perhaps a dampener to sentiment," Mr Esho said.

He said investors were now awaiting figures today on China's gross domestic product.

Mr Esho said that despite widespread negative sentiment, a lot of positive signs were being overlooked.

The US Federal Reserve still had firepower to boost the US economy, but after already having moved aggressively, it had to keep some ammunition for the future.

Although people had been worried about China's weakening economy, Mr Esho said Chinese exports were still strong, and the coming figures on gross domestic product might not be as disastrous as some were expecting.

In the resource sector yesterday, BHP Billiton was off 65? at $30.40 and Rio Tinto was $1.40 weaker at $54.25.

Among the big banks, Westpac firmed 5? to $21.87 but NAB shed 13? at $23.46, ANZ 26? to $22.18 and Commonwealth 9? to $53.51.

Myer dipped 1.5? to $1.66 after the department store chain said it would make 100 jobs redundant.

Telstra slipped 1? to $3.85 after it said it was selling its New Zealand subsidiary TelstraClear to Vodafone.

Toll-road operator Transurban shares rose 15? to $5.83 after it said it had lifted its annual toll revenue by nearly 6 per cent.

CSR lost 3? to $1.20 as it said the soft housing market and low aluminium prices might drag on its first-half earnings. AAP

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