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Aust shares end soft Monday slightly ahead

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Published on: Monday, September 25, 2017

The Australian share market has ended a benign day of trade in barley positive territory after shedding earlier gains across energy, mining and banking and a decline in consumer stocks.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 closed up 0.03 per cent at 5,683.7 points.

A weekend of global events failed to stir the ASX on a soft day of trade, where all major sectors delivered mixed results, Citi global Markets director equities sales Karen Jorritsma said.

With relatively low turnover volumes across the ASX, Ms Jorritsma said investors were largely unmoved by Sunday’s German election, ongoing US-North Korea tensions and the falling price of iron ore.

“Its just been a benign day on the stock market and sometimes that can be a good thing,” Ms Jorritsma said.

The Commonwealth Bank led the market declines on Monday, following its weekend decision to cancel the unpopular $2 ATM withdrawal fees for customers of other banks – a move quickly copied by other Big Four banks.

“While the Commonwealth Bank was the first to announce the move, shareholders don’t give points for cutting fees,” Ms Jorritsma said.

“Banks never move in concert, but there is more selling in CBA today which could be down to a number of things, and don’t forget CBA has Austrac uncertainty weighing on its price.”

Among the major lenders CBA led the losses, down 1.1 per cent, or 81 cents, at $75.81, and NAB was down flat at $31.28.

Westpac ended a strong day 0.7 per cent, or 22 cents ahead, at $31.86 and ANZ closed 0.2 per cent, or six cents higher at $30.00.

As global oil prices continue to climb, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday declined to activate a domestic gas reservation policy amid ongoing worries of an impending eastern seaboard gas price shortage.

The domestic energy sector was up 0.4 per cent at 1200 AEST, but closed virtually flat, with Woodside ending the session down 0.2 per cent, at $29.14 while Santos was up one per cent at $4.03 and Oil Search up 0.3 per cent at $6.86.

Among the miners BHP Billiton and Fortescue were 0.1 and 0.2 per cent higher respectively, while Rio Tinto was down 0.06 per cent, and gold miner Newcrest Mining closed up nine cents at $21.76.

Myer closed 0.7 per cent higher at 72 cents, shrugging off earlier criticism from veteran retail investor and major shareholder Solomon Lew, who accused the struggling department store of selling clothing ranges three years out of date.

Mr Lew’s Premier Investments closed down 2.6 per cent at $13.40, after strong performances in its stationery brand Smiggle and sleepwear chain Peter Alexander helped drive sales revenue for the year to June up four per cent to $1.1 billion.

The resilient Australian dollar defied its improving US counterpart and the falling price of iron ore to begin the week slightly up, trading just below the 80 US cent mark.

At 1630 AEST on Monday, the local currency was trading at 79.61 US cents, up from 79.46 on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* At 1630 AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 1.6 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 5,683.7 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 1.1 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 5,741.7 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 2 points or 0.04 per cent at 5,674 points.

* National turnover was 2.8 billion securities traded worth $4.4 billion.


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