26/09/2011 - 08:59

Wild start to week's trade

26/09/2011 - 08:59

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Wild start to week's trade

The Australian share market got off to a flier this morning, before slipping, spiking and sliding again to be trading just under 3,900 points, in a volatile start to the week's trading.

The jerky trading comes after a horror week which ended in a two-year low.

Just after trade opened with the S&P/ASX200 index at 3,915 points this morning, the market rocketed quickly towards the 4,000-point mark, reaching 3,995.

By 10:45 AEST, however, the market had fallen to just over 3,920 points. A brief rally saw the index hit 3,935 at 11:15(AEST)

At 12:21 AEST the S&P/ASX200 index had fallen again, down 11.4 points to 3,891.8. The All Ordinaries index was down 20.5 points, to 3,958.

Burrell Stockbroking adviser Jamie Elgar said the market's early lift was short-lived as trading volumes were below average, in line with recent trends.

Turnover was 909.67 million shares changing hands for $1.97 billion, with about six of every 10 stocks trading lower.

"Any rise in this market is still tentative and we'll have to see what the outcome of these G20 talks on a new bailout fund will be ... I'm personally still pretty cautious (and expect there are) still bouts of volatility ahead (this week)," he said.

Making news on Monday, supermarket giant Woolworths gained 1.2 per cent to $24.86 after it forecast a two- to six-per cent increase in this year's net profit.

Mining giant Rio Tinto shed 0.78 per cent to $62.16 after announcing it had purchased 600,000 of its own shares. Fellow miner BHP Billiton rose 0.46 per cent to $34.71.

Typically defensive health care stocks outperformed, up 2.13 per cent, with medical diagnostic company Sonic Healthcare gaining 3.63 per cent to $11.70.

The financial sector was driving the market higher, recovering slightly from a major sell-off last week to trade 1.4 per cent up, after a significant rebound in European bank stocks on Friday.

All the major retail banks gained ground, with Westpac the strongest performer, up 2.35 per cent to $19.17.

Energy stocks slipped 0.85 per cent after world oil prices crashed. Santos fell 28 cents to $10.57, and Woodside Petroleum lost 26 cents to $31.11.

Uranium miner Paladin Energy was the worst performing stock on the S&P/ASX 100, crashing 6.6 per cent to $1.34.

The best performing stock on the same index was James Hardie Industries, which gained almost five per cent at $5.70.

Gold also fell more than $US100 on Friday, with weeks of volatility, renewed strength in the US dollar and talk of hedge fund liquidation wrecking its safe-haven status.

The spot price of gold in Sydney $US1,645.7 per fine ounce, down $US100.01 from Friday's close at $US1,745.71.

Australia's biggest gold miner Newcrest also tumbled $1.32 to $34.78.

 

 

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