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Australian stocks lower by midday, S&P 200 slips 24.3pts

Australian stocks lower by midday, S&P 200 slips 24.3pts

SYDNEY: The Australian stocks went lower by midday after a seven-week high yesterday, while traders locked in profits amid continuing global monetary uncertainty.
At 12.20pm (AEDT), the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 24.3 points, or 0.44 per cent, lower at 5449.3. The broader All Ordinaries index was down 24.7 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 5422.3.
The news overnight that Greece had failed to elect a president and would hold national elections in January sent jitters through Europe’s more vulnerable stock markets.
Commodity prices continue to be weak, with oil plunging to a new five-year low.
“The market had to break one way or other, we were getting a lot of conflicting currents at the open again today,” CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said.
“We’re vulnerable at times of uncertainty to corrective selling.”
The market had jumped more than six per cent since December 16 before today.
The big miners were mostly lower despite a two per cent bounce in iron ore prices.
BHP Billiton had lost 17 cents to $29.52 and Rio Tinto had shed 35 cents to $57.70.
Fortescue Metals had recovered from a weaker start to rise 1.5 cents to $2.745.
Energy stocks were recording the biggest falls as the price of West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude oil fell to its lowest levels since May, 2009.
Woodside Petroleum had retreated 44.5 cents to $38.135, Santos had given up 23.5 cents to $8.225 and Oil Search was eight cents lower at $7.88.
The banking sector was better but had given up some of its early gains, with ANZ adding four cents to $32.27, National Australia Bank one cent higher at $33.68 and Commonwealth Bank 10 cents stronger at $86.15 and Westpac down 10 cents to $33.32.