The local share market closed slightly lower today, dragged down by financial players and spite gains on Wall Street overnight.
The financial sector was weaker by 0.7 per cent, Westpac (WBC) the worst out of the big four, down 1.2 per cent to $30.93.
The main indicator of the Australian Securities Exchange (bottom R) is seen in red shortly after the local market opened in Central Sydney October 4, 2011. Australian stocks eased 0.6 percent on Tuesday, pressured by falls in global equities markets in a fresh flight from riskier assets, but losses were limited after steep declines on Monday. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (AUSTRALIA - Tags: BUSINESS)
Mining players fared better. Iron ore player Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) rose by 3.7 per cent to $3.98 while Rio Tinto (RIO) was firmer by 2.7 per cent to $58.28.
Billabong (BBG) shares came back online today, after more than a week in a trading halt. BBG has confirmed it is now in exclusive takeover talks with former pro-surfer and BBG North American director Paul Naude and his backers Sycamore Partners Management about a 60 cents per share takeover bid, which values BBG at $287.4 million. BBG is under no obligation to agree to the deal. BBG shares fell 26.7 per cent today to 53.5c.
The Bank of Queensland has acquired Richard Branson's Virgin Money financial services business in a deal worth $40 million. Under the deal, the bank will have exclusive use of the Virgin Money brand for four decades in exchange for an ongoing royalty to Sir Richard´s Virgin Group. BOQ shares fell 0.8 per cent today to $9.58.
In economic data today, the Westpac/Melbourne Institute index of consumer confidence fell by 5.1 per cent in April. All five components of the index fell in April. However the index is still up 11.0 per cent over the year to April.
On the market overall, a total of 1.7 billion shares changed hands, worth $5.5 billion. 499 were up, 435 were down and 362 were unchanged.
At 5pm AEST the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 4970, up 6 points.
The Aussie dollar hit a 10 week high against the greenback today and at 5pm AEST was worth US105.18c.
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