THE stock market finished 2010 on a disappointing note,
dropping almost one per cent today amid broad-based declines.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index a closed shortened trading
session down 45.2 points, or 0.94 per cent, at 4,745.2 points,
while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 39.8 points, or
0.81 per cent, to 4,846.9 points.
On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract
was 66 points weaker at 4,730 points, with 11,797 contracts
The ASX200 finished 2010 about 2.5 per cent down on its 2009
All the major components of the market finished lower today:
the materials sector slipped 1.06 per cent, financials
backpedalled 1.16 per cent and energy stocks ended down 0.69
per cent, according to Iress data.
Just two companies on the S&P/ASX20 closed in positive
territory – Telstra and Westfield Retail Trust finished up one
cent at $2.79 and $2.57, respectively.
Bell Potter senior adviser Stuart Smith said most fund managers
did their end-of-year book squaring prior to Christmas and had
spent the past week maintaining their positions as the year drew
to a close.
“It has just been a matter of fine tuning on not much volume,”
Mr Smith said.
Offshore leads were mostly negative – equity markets closed
lower, while precious metals and crude oil prices finished
But one bright spot was the performance of copper, which
climbed about 1.2 per cent.
IG Markets research analyst Ben Potter said the local market
followed the lead from Wall Street, where US investors booked
in some profits following solid gains in December.
“People have probably locked in a little bit of profit and
called it quits for the year,” Mr Potter said.
Among resources stocks, BHP Billiton eased 60 cents to $45.25,
while Rio Tinto slipped 23 cents to $85.47.
Local banking stocks finished weaker.
ANZ fell 33 cents to $23.35, Commonwealth Bank declined 50
cents to $50.77, National Australia Bank closed 33 cents weaker
at $23.70 and Westpac slipped 40 cents to $22.21.
Insurers also ended in negative territory as devastating floods
continued to cause chaos across large swathes of Queensland.
Suncorp declined nine cents to $8.61, Insurance Australia Group
clowed six cents lower at $3.88 and QBE slumped 24 cents at
Suncorp, which includes insurance brands AAMI, Apia, GIO and
Vero, today reassured investors it has a reinsurance program,
adding that it had received 1450 claims from across Queensland
since Christmas Eve.
Bell Potter’s Mr Smith said he expected the cost of the floods,
estimated to be the worst in 50 years, to be substantial.
“It’s a bottomless pit to try and find out what the damages
claims will be on Suncorp’s insurance side of things,” Mr Smith
“We all know that they spread the risk around, but still this
is going to be greater than 2008.”
The spot price of gold in Sydney finished at $US1,408.80 per
ounce, down $US5.70 from yesterday’s close of $US1414.50.
The most traded stock by volume was Legend Mining, with 106.7
million securities changing hands for $8.9 million.
The company was up eight-tenths of a cent at 7.9 cents.
National turnover was 1.39 billion shares worth $1.77 billion,
with 497 stocks up, 480 down and 391 unchanged.