27 Dec 2013

ASX trading fizzles on first day back

7:45 pm on 27 December 2013

Trade resumed on Friday in the Australian share market after a two-day holiday for Christmas, but the trading sessions were very quiet.

Stocks jumped at the open after another record-breaking close for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but lost steam through the session.

It was the third last trading day for the year, and amid very light volumes the benchmark ASX 200 index slipped 3 points to close at 5324 points while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 2 points to close at 5324.

Australia's largest telecommunications company Telstra continued to push higher, adding another A3c to close at $A5.25, its highest level since March 2005.

Retailers were also in favour the day after the Boxing Day sales kicked off around the country.

An estimated $A2 billion went through the tills in the Boxing Day sales, which was much better than retailers had expected.

The Australian Retailers' Association says sales were between 5% and 6% higher than last year as shoppers snapped up bargains.

Shares in the department store Myer rose by 0.4% to close at $A2.74, as investors shrugged off the technical difficulties that saw its online store crash at the height of the Boxing Day sales.

Rival David Jones added 0.7% to finish on $A3.01.

Gold miners were among the biggest winners as the spot price of the yellow metal rises; Australia's largest gold producer Newcrest Mining added 2.2% to finish on $A7.78.

Smaller players advanced further; Resolute Mining gained 6.6% to A57 cents.

The large diversified miners also advanced; Rio Tinto added 0.8% to $A67.36, while BHP Billiton gained 0.6% to close at $A37.55.

In commodity trade, spot gold has given back some of its overnight gains and at 5pm (AEDT) was buying $US1212.41 an ounce.

West Texas crude rose to $US99.05 a barrel overnight and Tapis crude is fetching $US117.95 a barrel.

In currency trade, the Australian dollar rose against its US counterpart after trading relatively flat through the day and was fetching US89.1 cents.

On the cross rates it was also fetching 64.8 euro cents, 93.3 Japanese yen, 54.2 British pence and $NZ1.09.