16/12/2014 - 14:11

Shares close 33.8pts lower

16/12/2014 - 14:11

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The share market has hit its lowest level in more than 10 months as falling commodity prices contributed to a sixth consecutive straight day of losses.

The share market has hit its lowest level in more than 10 months as falling commodity prices contributed to a sixth consecutive straight day of losses.

At the close today, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 33.8 points, or 0.65 per cent, at 5,152.3 points, its lowest close since February 7.

The broader All Ordinaries index was down 33.6 points, or 0.65 per cent, at 5,131 points, its lowest since February 6.

The December share price index futures contract was 23 points lower at 5,154 points, with 171,428 contracts traded.

National turnover was 1.3 billion securities worth $4.2 billion.

News of weaker manufacturing activity in China added to the negativity.

Resources stocks dragged the market lower, including miners exposed to China's economy, and energy stocks punished due to fresh five-year lows in oil prices.

After opening lower the market had almost recovered back to square by lunchtime, before the impact of the negative Chinese numbers, CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said.

"Given these big oil price falls, investors are not going to respond quickly to supply demand changes or even perceptions ... so there is a bit of a structural adjustment and bearishness flooding into resources sectors," he said.

Woodside Petroleum dropped 93 cents, or 2.6 per cent, to $34.46, as it announced $4 billion in LNG and oil asset purchases.

Santos shed 19 cents, or 2.55 per cent, to $7.27 and Oil Search lost 20 cents, or 2.75 per cent, to $7.06.

BHP Billiton shares are at a six-year low after slumping 91 cents to $27.42, Rio Tinto dropped 85 cents to $52.65 and Fortescue Metals Group was 9 cents weaker at $2.39.

The major banks were mixed, with Westpac down 25 cents at $31.57, Commonwealth Bank down 32 cents at $80.95, ANZ two cents lower at $30.74 and National Australia Bank up 2 cents at $31.50.

NAB earlier announced the sale of STG1.2 billion ($A2.19 billion) in high-risk UK loans.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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