Australian shares fell today in marked contrast to the rest of Asia – the Nikkei, for example, was up a huge 1.6%. The sell-off was broad-based with three of the four major banks losing around 0.2%.
First, the scoreboard:
- All Ords 5310.6 (-21.6, -0.4%)
- ASX 200 5331.4 (-22.2, -0.4%)
- AUD/USD 0.8206 (+0.0057, +0.70%)
And the top stories today:
- Australia’s unemployment rate logged a surprise fall to 6.1%, with the economy adding more than 37,000 jobs in December against just 5,000 expected. In a solidly positive employment report, most of the gains were in in full-time work. It means an all-time record number of Australians were in work last month in the run to Christmas.
- ANZ has joined the group of institutions lowering their outlook for Australia this year, expecting growth now at 2.5% in 2015. They’re also expecting official interest rates to move 50 basis points lower by the end of the year, calling for the first cut in March.
- The crash in copper prices has crushed Glencore’s share price, drastically reducing the likelihood of a mooted merger with Rio Tinto that would create the world’s biggest mining company.
- Woodside Petroleum logged record output but still announced plans to scale back investment to protect its margins amid falling oil prices.
Here’s the chart of the market action today.