A Polar bear nibbles on fruit snacks hanging on a christmas tree at Hannover Zoo’s in Germany. Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

The Australian market coasted to a flat close on the last session of the year, ending 12 months of trading to be just 1% above December 31 in 2013.

Here’s the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,411.00 -5.63 (-0.10%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,388.60 -3.73 (-0.07%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.8206 +0.0074 (+0.92%)

Wall street was also quiet in the lead up to New Year, with the S&P 500 weaker by 0.5%.

On the local market, the major banks and big miners were mostly steady.

Some of the smaller players did well, including Atlas Iron which ended the day up 6.5% to $0.165 and BC Iron which was up 6% to $0.53.

And the top stories on Wednesday:

1. China is slowing. The HSBC manufacturing PMI fell to 49.6 in December from 50.0 in November. This was just marginally higher than the flash (preliminary) reading of 49.5.

2. No reason to change interest rates. Australians are avoiding personal debt, but are still enthusiastic for borrowing when it comes to housing and business, according to the latest Reserve Bank of Australia credit numbers.

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