Winning run brought to a halt

The Australian market closed lower today after a seven-day run of gains that had pushed share prices to five-year highs.

At the close on Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 22.9 points, or 0.44 per cent, at 5,219.6. The broader All Ordinaries index was down 23.5 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 5,214.7.

Investors booked profits in anticipation of shares falling next week if, as expected, the US central bank decides to start reducing its $85 billion a month asset purchase program to stimulate the world’s biggest economy.

Such speculation has at times this year prompted investors to take money out of equities, precious metals and currencies and into the more attractive US dollar.

However IG market strategist Stan Shamu said he thought markets were becoming more comfortable with the fact that tapering of the stimulus would happen.


‘‘The fact that the global economy is recovering is countering the effect of tapering,’’ he said.

‘‘As long as things are improving then what’s wrong with it? It’s almost positive.’’

The Australian market was still up more than 1.6 per cent for the week despite falls of more than 0.4 per cent on Friday.

Miners led the market down following falls in the gold price and strong gains of about two per cent earlier in the week.

Goldminer Newcrest Mining recovered from some heavy early falls to close 37 cents, or 1.7 per cent, weaker at $12.02.

The world’s largest miner BHP Billiton gave up 38 cents to close at $36.20 and second-largest Rio Tinto dropped $1.12 to $63.08.

The winners on the bourse on Friday were stocks trading in US dollars after it gained in strength.

Shares in the biggest ASX health company, blood products and vaccines supplier CSL gained 62 cents to $65.90.

It revealed in its annual report on Friday that former boss Brian McNamee had walked away from the top job this year with pay and entitlements worth almost $20 million.

National turnover was 1.5 billion securities worth $4.3 billion.