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The Australian market closed slightly weaker, ignoring positive signals from Wall Street.

The S&P 500 traded modestly higher overnight, up by 0.3%, with no major news to move the market.

Locally, the ASX opened with a bounce but was soon dragged back by resources stocks to close 0.12% down.

First, the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,517.10 -6.86 (-0.12%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,494.00 -7.42 (-0.13%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.8626 +0.0006 (+0.07%)

And the top stories on Tuesday:

1. The growth in house prices is easing, according to Australian Bureau of Statics numbers. Home prices in the eight capital cities rose 1.5% in the September quarter 2014 in line with market expectations. This compares to the 1.9% increase for the previous quarter.

2. Business conditions have suddenly and unexpectedly take a giant leap in Australia. The NAB Business survey shows that conditions have had their largest monthly increase on record in October of 12 points from 1 to 13. Sentiment, however, is weaker, suggesting businesses are still wary about the coming months despite seeing an increase in activity.

3. A big budget black hole. A return to budget surplus is unlikely anytime soon as the government’s revenue falls and savings measures are tied up in a political deadlock, according to a detailed analysis of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s first budget.

4. CitiGroup now expects iron ore to drop into the $50 a tonne range next year, albeit briefly.
The bank expects prices to average $74 a tonne in Q1, moving down to an average of $60 by the September quarter next year. Australian iron miner stocks fell including Fortescue which was down 4.43% to $3.02, and Atlas iron down 7.75% to $0.245.

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