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Markets dips ahead of inflation data, Europe meeting

THE sharemarket slipped 0.6 per cent yesterday, after the previous day's 2.6 per cent jump, as traders awaited two announcements due today.

THE sharemarket slipped 0.6 per cent yesterday, after the previous day's 2.6 per cent jump, as traders awaited two announcements due today.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 27.1 points, or 0.64 per cent, at 4227.9, while the broader All Ordinaries fell 25.9 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 4287.7.

The CommSec analyst Tom Piotrowski said the market was becoming more realistic about outcomes in Europe but things were moving in the right direction. The fall in the local market yesterday "looks like a bit of a disappointment given the US markets had a strong night and the picture in the US is looking more encouraging," he said.

"The markets are really waiting on two key outcomes." These were local inflation numbers and the second meeting of European leaders about the sovereign debt crisis.

Mr Piotrowski said there had initially been optimism about the European bailout package but that had eased somewhat.

The resources sector fared well in a falling market yesterday, led by Rio Tinto , which rose $1 to $66.63. BHP closed up 32? at $37.17.

The big four banks all slipped back. Commonwealth fell 6? to $48.72, ANZ 16? at $21.55, NAB 27? to $24.67 and Westpac 16? to $22.

Foster's said consumers remained hesitant because of global economic concerns but it expected beer sales to improve once economic uncertainty was resolved. The brewer, which is in the process of being bought by global beverage maker SABMiller, fell 1? to $5.30.

Pacific Brands fell 3.5? to 59.5? after shareholders rejected the remuneration package for the management of the clothing and linen producer. Surfing brand Billabong International jumped 31? to $3.91 after saying it was on track for strong earnings growth this year.

The medical equipment maker ResMed said currency exchange movements had led to an 11 per cent fall in its first quarter profit. The shares slumped 39?, or 13 per cent, to $2.61, making the stock the worst performer among the top 200 stocks.

The best performer was Mirabela Nickel, which jumped 13?, or 9.5 per cent, to $1.50 after saying third quarter sales and production of nickel were at record levels.

The price of gold was $US1658.15 per ounce, up $US4.30.

National turnover was 1.84 billion shares worth $4.67 billion. AAP


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