Gloom dampens markets

THE Australian sharemarket finished the week on a low as data confirming another European recession and concerns about the US fiscal cliff dampened investor sentiment.

The S&P/ASX200 declined 12.40 points (-0.29%) to 4336.80, while the All Ords lost -0.24% to close at 4360.1 points.

In the US, markets closed in negative territory, weighed down by weak economic data and global political uncertainty. The S&P500 slipped 0.16% to 1353.33 points, while the Dow Jones softened by 0.23% to close at 12,542.38.

In Europe, stocks were down as data confirmed the Eurozone economy was in recession again. Frankfurt's DAX 30 slipped 0.82% to 7043.42 while London's FTSE100 fell 0.77% to 5677.75.

Locally, the market closed lower yesterday on the back of weak overseas markets. Industrial stocks, consumer discretionary and the more defensive healthcare and utilities sectors posted gains, while materials, energy, information technology and financial stocks closed in negative territory.

Fortescue Metals Group fell 1.5% or six cents as CEO Andrew Forrest defended the big miner's decision to avoid paying royalty payments of $200 million. Rare metals group Lynas Corporation continued its losing streak, declining by 8.26%.

Media stocks were strong, with Seven West putting on 2.87% and Fairfax Media gaining 2.47%.

Among consumer staples, Wesfarmers rose 0.8%, while its competitor, Woolworths, declined 0.6%. All big four banks lost ground.



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