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ASX finish lower led by bank sell-off

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Published on: Monday, December 05, 2016

The share market has closed lower with most sectors in negative territory led by a heavy sell-off among the big four banks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.8 per cent lower on Monday.

Morgans Brisbane senior private client adviser Bill Chatterton said uncertainty following the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the wake of his steep referendum defeat may be contributing to the risk-off sentiment.

Mr Renzi lost the referendum over his plan to reform Italy's constitution and his resignation has fuelled concerns about renewed political instability in the eurozone's third-largest economy.

"There could be some nerves about the Italian PM's resignation but I think it has been beaten up a bit. There's not a lot of news out today," Mr Chatterton said.

"The big banks have been knocked down quite a bit."

Despite further improvement in oil prices, energy companies also lost ground partly on the back of some profit-taking, he said.

The nation's big four banks were all down more than one per cent, with Commonwealth Bank falling 92 cents to $77.68, Westpac dropping 37 cents to $30.97, National Australia Bank shedding 30 cents to $28.77 and ANZ declining 30 cents to $28.16.

Woodside Petroleum dropped 59 cents, or 1.91 per cent, to $30.35, Oil Search lost 11 cents, or 1.56 per cent, to $6.92, while Santos bucked the trend to rise three cents to $4.40.

Retailers, including Woolworths and Wesfarmers were also down by more than one per cent, while Telstra dropped four cents to $4.91.

The utility sector bucked broader falls to climb higher led by gains from Duet Group.

Duet shares jumped 39 cents, or 16.6 per cent, to $2.74 after the energy utility operator confirmed a $7.3 billion takeover bid from Hong Kong's Cheung Kong Infrastructure.

The major miners were higher, with BHP up 16 cents at $25.18, Rio Tinto up 57 cents at $58.61 and Fortescue Metals 11 cents stronger at $6.26.

KEY FACTS:

* At 1615 AEDT the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was down 43.6 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 5,400.4 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 44.6 points, or 0.81 per cent, at 5,458 points.

* The December share price index futures contract was down 48 points at 5,396 points, with 34,597 contracts traded.

* National turnover was 2.5 billion securities traded, worth $5.2 billion.


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