THE WEST AUSTRALIAN, ABC
Tuesday, 01 January 2013 18:03
It has been a lacklustre finish to the trading year in Australia, with local investors concerned about the lack of a deal by United States politicians to avert the fiscal cliff.
In a shortened session before the New Year's Day public holiday, the All Ordinaries index fell 21 points to 4664 and the ASX 200 also closed down about 0.5 per cent at 4649.
Volumes were down on average levels, but much higher than the very thin trade seen last week.
For the entire year, the All Ordinaries Index finished up 13.5 per cent and the ASX 200 gained 14.6 per cent.
Today's losses have been broad based, with the financial sector reversing its earlier weakness, only to edge back down by the end of the session.
Signs of improvement in China's manufacturing sector failed to boost the big miners - Rio Tinto closed 0.8 per cent lower and BHP Billiton fell 30 cents to $37.10.
Woodside Petroleum gave up 31 cents to $33.88, while fellow oil and gas producer Santos bounced back from earlier weakness to close steady.
Shares in Sundance Resources surged 15.6 per cent to 37 cents, after reports Chinese company Hanlong plans to finalise its takeover of the Australian iron ore miner by March.
Sundance has also announced that the Ministerial Council for the Republic of Congo has approved its application to develop and mine the country's Nabeba iron ore deposit.
Fairfax shares jumped 7.4 per cent to 51 cents, after a consortium allied with Gina Rinehart bought a small holding, giving the mining magnate further clout within the media company.
The Australian dollar was stronger at 104 US cents around 2.55pm (AEDT) - despite fluctuations over the year, that is little changed from levels around 102 US cents where the local currency was trading back in early January.
On the cross-rates, this afternoon the Aussie was worth 89.36 Japanese yen, 78.7 euro cents, 64.35 British pence, and NZ$1.2615.
West Texas crude oil was worth US$90.64 a barrel and Tapis had eased slightly to $US116.18 a barrel.
Spot gold was higher at US$1660.49 an ounce - roughly US$100 higher than where it started 2013.
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