An oil well outside Williston, North Dakota. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The continuing fall in global oil prices smashed the Australian market again before it recovered about half the losses later in the day.

On Wall Street, the S&P/ASX 500 closed down 1.64% after OPEC lowered its projection for oil demand in 2015. The price of oil has been sliding since June when Brent crude was $US115 a barrel. Today it’s $US66.

On the Australian market, the ASX fell 1.2% with stocks down across the board. But by mid session the Australia market had staged a recovery, clawing back half the losses.

The energy sector lost 2.60% in value. The miners also suffered with BHP down 1.33% to $29.00, and Rio Tinto weaker by 2.4% to $55.04.

The banks were all down, led by the ANZ at $31.21, losing 0.89%.

First, the scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,231.00 -28.00 (-0.53%)
  • All Ordinaries: 5,207.40 -29.70 (-0.57%)
  • AUD/USD: 0.8324 +0.0007 (+0.08%)

And the top stories on Thursday:

1. The Christmas Conundrum in the jobs figures. Official unemployment numbers came in at their worst for 12 years. On the other hand, employment just boomed 42,700 in the same month.

2. Gas and oil producer Santos is cutting its 2015 capital expenditure plans by $700 million to $2 billion following the substantial fall in oil prices.

3. Integrated energy company Origin has extended and increased its loans to $7.4 billion from $6.6 billion. Origin, Australia’s largest energy retailer, generates about 13% of the nation’s electricity and has interests in natural gas and coal seam gas. Its shares closed down 2.3% to $10.56.

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