The Australian market closed weaker for the second day in a row this week as miners continued to follow iron ore prices down.
The banks were mostly flat but other financial stocks slipped. QBE was down 0.89% to $11.080 and Insurance Group Australia weaker by more than 1% to $6.340.
Wall Street is giving little guidance with the S&P 500 index up by just 0.07% overnight.
In the region, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down about 1% but Japan’s Nikkei is up more than 2%.
First, the scoreboard:
- S&P ASX 200: 5,399.70 -12.85 (-0.24%)
- All Ordinaries: 5,383.10 -13.53 (-0.25%)
- AUD/USD: 0.8719 +0.0013 (+0.15%)
And the top stories on Tuesday:
1. Dunlop Volley shoes go to the UK. Pacific Brands sold its shoe and some of its clothing businesses in three deals, worth $39 million. Gone is the Brand Collective part of the business, which is responsible for 15.5% of sales, including clothing Superdry and Mossimo, plus shoes Volley, Hush Puppies, Julius Marlow, Clarks and Grosby. The Pacific Brands share price headed up more than 6% to $0.525
2. More interest rate cuts? First Credit Suisse analysts Damien Boey and Hasan Tevfik made a strong case for a cut in official rates, then the Reserve Bank said it didn’t see economic growth above trend until 2016.
3. The iron ore slide. Iron ore continues to quietly crash with the December 62% Fe swap futures contract dropping another 79 cents to a new 5 year low of $73.96. Local pure iron ore miners suffered, including Fortescue Metals which was down more than 6% to $2.98 and BC Iron weaker by more than 10% to $0.655.
4. Medibank Private. The stock debut next week could see a lot of people in the money. The shadow market is showing a price around $2.12, about 6% higher than the top of the price range.