Dollars fall sinks stocks

Published in the Illawara Mercury, May 2010

The Australian share market closed lower yesterday, reversing earlier gains amid increasing global volatility and a sharp US3c fall on the Australian dollar.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed down 70.6 points, or 1.61 per cent, at 4316.5 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index fell 71.9 points, or 1.63 per cent, to 4342.4 points.

On the Sydney Futures Exchange the June share price index contract was 67 points lower at 4322 on a volume of 52,413 contracts.

Wealth Within analyst Dale Gillham said the decline in the Aussie dollar was behind the poor performance of the resource and financials sectors.

"It looks to be a more general meltdown with banks down and also resources," he said. "Our Aussie dollar is down... that affects our resources stocks."

The Australian dollar was trading at US82.85c, down 3c from Wednesday's close of US85.85c

Among the major miners, BHP Billiton was down 22c, or 0.6 per cent, at $36.75 and rival Rio Tinto fell 63c, or 1 per cent, to $62.25.

Among the gold miners Lihir lost 11c, or 2.42 per cent, to $3.93 and Newcrest Mining shed 92c, or 2.82 per cent, to $31.68.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1 184.70 per fine ounce, down $US29.07 on Wednesday's closing price.

Among the banks, National Australia Bank was off 55c, or 2.31 per cent at $23.25 and Westpac lost 90c, or 3.96 per cent at $21.80.

ANZ finished down 62c, or 2.92 per cent at $20.63 after Fitch Ratings affirmed its rating for ANZ's senior unsecured debt at AA-, while the outlook on the long-term issuer default rating was revised from stable to positive.

Commonwealth Bank fell $1.31, or 2.55 per cent, to $50.07.

In the energy sector, Woodside Petroleum dropped 66c, or 1.56 per cent, to $41.59 with rival Oil Search losing 6c to $5.25. Gas giant Santos fell 63c, or 5.07 per cent, to $11.80.

The top-traded stock by volume was Australian Mines, with 739 million shares worth $739,000 changing hands. Its shares remained steady at 0.1c. Overall, 254 stocks were up, 828 down and 338 unchanged.

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