Weighlifter Ruslan Nurudinov of Uzbekistan Adam Nurkiewicz / Getty Images

The big banks dropped in value by almost 2% before recovering in late trade today.

Westpac closed down 1.63% to $32.52, followed by the ANZ which lost 1.22% to $31.50, the NAB 0.92% to $32.30 and Macquarie Bank 1.6% to $59.69. The Commonwealth Bank closed in positive territory, up 0.4% to $82.35.

The weakening in bank stocks came after Australia’s financial regulators announced a joint operation against risky home lending, mostly investment and interest-only loans.

Most sectors were in positive territory and the miners were in recovery mode with BHP up 1.77% to $29.39 and Rio Tinto firmer by 1.62% to $56.40.

Wall Street was flat to weaker overnight, with the S&P 500 closing just 0.02% down.

First, the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,259.00 -23.67 (-0.45%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,237.10 -21.1 (-0.40%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.8318 +0.0024 (+0.29%)

And the top stories on Wednesday:

1. Consumer sentiment is tanking on the short run to Christmas. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index fell 5.7% in December.

2. Amazing suction. Shares in Godfreys were up 4% to $2.88 on its ASX debut today. The vacuum cleaner retailer has a market cap of more than $40.3 Million.

3. Money in the pipe. APA Group, a natural gas infrastructure business, has bought a major natural gas pipeline, QCLNG, in Queensland for US$5 billion ($6 billion) from BG Group.

4. Investors dominate the home loan market. Australia’s loan data for October shows a 1% increase in the value of dwellings financed and a 0.3% increase in number of dwellings financed. Investment housing was up another 1%. Investment housing was up another 1%, according to the ABS, holding at a near record share of all finance of 41.39%.

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