Trade Resources Economy Sharemarket Closed Marginally Lower After Investors to Reap Their Profits

Sharemarket Closed Marginally Lower After Investors to Reap Their Profits

The Australian sharemarket closed marginally lower after investors decided to reap their profits later in the day.

At the close today, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 3.1 points, or 0.07 per cent at 4716.6, while the broader All Ordinaries index lost 2.7 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 4743.

On the ASX 24, the March share price index futures contract was three points lower at 4692, with 20,823 contracts traded.

Paterson's Securities associate director Mark Goulopoulos said the Australian sharemarket closed slightly lower after a late session of profit-taking.

"We've have generally a pretty positive start to the year so we had a bit of profit taking this afternoon," he said.

"We were down as much as 10 or 12 points mid afternoon until the Rio production report came out which was a solid one and the market liked it and we closed off just three points down."

Mining giant Rio Tinto announced that it had lifted global iron ore production by 4 per cent to a record 253 million tonnes in 2012.

The company still closed down 9c at $65.90 but recovered from an intraday low of $65.33.

BHP Billiton closed 4c lower at $36.53 and Fortescue lost 9c to $4.64.

Beleaguered retailer Billabong's shares surged 15.98 per cent to 98c after it announced it had a second takeover offer, this time from from VF Corporation, owner of The North Face and Timberland brands, and US private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners.

The four major banks had a mixed day of trading.

ANZ finished 6c up at $25.27 and Commonwealth Bank jumped 12c to $61.75.

However, Westpac fell 14c to $26.36 and National Australia Bank lost 3c to $25.71.

National turnover was 1.504 billion shares worth $3.967 billion, with 464 stocks up, 505 down and 345 unchanged.

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