The West

ASX down as investors offload securities
ASX down as investors offload securities

The Australian stock market has fallen with broad-based declines as investors offload securities in response to a weak global economic outlook.

At 9.16am, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 18.6 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 4486.7 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index had fallen 18.4 points, or also 0.41 per cent, to 4508.2 points.

On the ASX 24, the December share price index futures contract was 22 points lower at 4487 points, with 13,230 contracts traded.

The Australian market opened down about 0.4 per cent, less than offshore declines during overnight trading.

Sentiment soured on news the International Monetary Fund had downgraded its forecasts for global economic growth.

Gold was the worst-performing sector, falling 1.48 per cent, according to IRESS data.

Industrial stocks (down 0.72 per cent) and consumer discretionary stocks (down 0.86 per cent) were also in negative territory.

On a positive note, Australia's big resources companies were higher.

BHP was up six cents at $33.53, Rio was four cents firmer at $55.74 and Woodside had climbed 22 cents to $33.80.

Bell Potter senior adviser Stuart Smith said there was a shift towards these big resources companies as the local market consolidated recent gains.

"There is a switch from the conservative ends of the market, which is your banks and retail and Telstra and that sort of thing, into resources," Mr Smith said.

"That's the not-so-subtle change that is happening and it is overdue and, I think, it is positive."

Australia's big four banks were all in red figures - ANZ was down four cents at $25.58, CBA was off 10 cents at $56.63, NAB had slipped six cents to $26.24 and Westpac had declined 23 cents to $25.66.

Among the results so far during the US corporate earnings season, which has just got underway, aluminium maker Alcoa said it had posted a $US143 million ($A140.78 million) loss in the third quarter of calendar 2012.

Shares in its Australian joint-venture partner Alumina were up 3.25 cents at 90.75 cents.

The spot price of gold in Sydney was $US1762.70 per ounce, down $US14.98 from Tuesday's local close of $US1777.68 per ounce.

National turnover was 624.5 million securities worth $1.3 billion, with 294 stocks up, 468 down and 303 unchanged.

The West Australian

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