market wrap for today

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    Sydney - Monday - November 21: (RWE Aust Business News) -

    The Australian sharemarket closed lower today, pressured by selling among the banks and miners.

    The All Ordinaries index ended 12.4 points weaker at the day's low of 4598.2 while the ASX200 index dropped 16.9 points to 4654.2.

    On the economic front the Bureau of Statistics reported sales of new motor vehicles fell 6.7 per cent in October, seasonally adjusted, and were also down 6.7 per cent for the year to October.

    In futures the December SPI200 contract declined 20 points to 4667.

    Trading was busy with turnover of $3.6 billion, comprising 550 rises, 478 falls and 312 steadies.

    National Australia Bank - trading ex 83c - topped the turnover by value list with trading worth $472 million, and fell 69c to $32.76.

    Macquarie Bank, also ex 90c, was second on the list with $281 million and slumped $1.58 to $70.32.

    Commonwealth jumped to a record $42.27 before retreating to end 36c weaker at $41.64 while ANZ slid 13c to $23.92 and Westpac dipped 4c to $22.20.

    Miners struggled to reach positive territory with BHP Billiton ending 14c weaker at $21.71 and Alumina eased 1c to $6.32 while a burst of late buying ahead of the close lifted Rio Tinto 15c to $62.60.

    AMP rose 4c to $7.65, IAG lost 7c to $5.39, Lend Lease fell 14c to $14.51, Bluescope Steel declined 13c to $7.41, Sims Group soared 43c to $17.01, Rinker - ex 14c - dropped 26c to $15.63, Telstra slid 7c to $4.05, News Corp rose 24c to $20.95, PBL gained 12c to $16.60, Tabcorp improved 11c to $16.31, Flight Centre slumped 34c to $9.44, Wesfarmers rose 17c to $37.55, Leighton declined 14c to $16.45, Brambles gained 5c
    to $9.39, Transurban advanced 14c to $6.86, Woolworths put on 12c to $17.47 while rival Coles Myer dipped 5c to $10.01, CSL jumped 75c to $41.05 and Cochlear climbed 82c to $40.70.

    Symbion Health, formerly Mayne Group following the demerger of Mayne Pharma, rose 19.5c to $3.16 while Mayne Pharma began public life at $2.68 and closed at $2.85.

    James Hardie fell 13c to $8.75 after the NSW Government gave the company two weeks to finalise an asbestos compensation deal before it brings in legislation to force Hardie to pay.

    Woodside Petroleum rose 23c to $33.42 in oil and gas, Santos put on 7c to $11.30, Caltex improved 52c to $21.90 and Oil Search jumped 12c to $3.37.

    Among the goldminers Newcrest gained 15c to $20.18 while Lihir and Newmont rose 3c apiece to $22.24 and $6.36 respectively.

    In Tokyo the Nikkei was 30 points higher at 14,653 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng had dipped three points to 14,880.

    New Zealand's NZSE50 rose eight points to 3334.

    Gold is worth $US486 oz and the Australian dollar is fetching US73.35c.

    Ten-year bond yields were half a point lower at 5.39 per cent.
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