LOWEST CLOSE FOR AUSTRALIAN STOCKS IN TWO YEARS: What you need to know

Australian stocks fell to their lowest point in more than two years.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 4,909.60 -19.00 -0.39%
  • All Ordinaries: 4,963.90 -17.97 -0.36%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7252 +0.0004 +0.06%

The local market hit its sixth straight session of losses and a low not seen since July 2013. With the ASX 200 below 5000 points for a second day, the index has dropped 5% this month.

Investors were influenced by negative sentiment ahead of the Fed’s decision on US interest rates on Thursday, ignoring a positive lead from Wall Street where the S&P 500 closed 0.5% higher.

Time is running out for a so-called Santa rally. On average, over the last 30 years, the market hit a low on December 15 before averaging a gain of 1.9% into the end of the year, according Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG.

Deutsche Bank has cut its forecasts for the ASX 200 to 5300 from 5800 for the middle of 2016.

On the local market today, six out of ten sectors were down.

The big miners again lost ground with BHP losing almost 2% to $16.29. Energy stocks were also a drag with LNG losing 12% to $0.775 and Santos 1.8% to $3.28.

The major banks were in the red. The NAB shed 1% to $27.66 and the ANZ 1.3% to $25.37.

The top stories Tuesday:

1. MYEFO. The budget deficit grows and cuts are needed to fund new initiatives. Also read: Treasury gets real on the Australian outlook.

2. CHARTS: Three key economic trends in Scott Morrison’s budget update.

3. Qantas upgrades its profit guidance. The stronger performance for the first half is down to cost cutting, better business performance and lower fuel prices. Qantas closed down 2.3% to $3.69.

4. Money in pets. An investment bank is leading an on market raid on Greencross on behalf of a private equity group. Greencross closed 29% higher at $5.98.

5. Official interest rates. No sign of a cut in this month’s RBA minutes.

6. Zoom, zoom. Australian new motor vehicle sales are accelerating.

7. First the bad, now the good news. This analyst says it’s time to buy Australian stocks.

8. Scramcard. A startup founded by former Westpac chief security officer Simon Hewitt wants to solve credit card fraud with something which looks like a credit card.

9. As safe as houses. The price growth in Australia’s hottest housing markets of Sydney and Melbourne is slowing and will be down to single digits in 2016.

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