Australian share market ends year 2 per cent below where it started
The Australian share market has ended the year a little over 2 per cent below where it started 2015, following a lacklustre final session.
There had been faint hopes that a late December rally might pull the ASX back to even for the year.
But another steep fall in oil prices overnight sparked a Wall Street sell-down, dashing those hopes.
Instead, last-minute profit-taking helped snap a run of nine straight days of gains and saw the ASX 200 fall almost 0.5 per cent to 5,296 in a shortened session.
That is below the 5,411 points where the benchmark index started the year.
The All Ordinaries index also fell on the final day of 2015, losing 22 points to close at 5,345.
Mining and energy stocks led the sell-down, with Santos ending a horror year with a another 2.7 per cent fall.
At $3.68 it is down almost 50 per cent this year.
South32 pipped Santos. It opened at $2.13 after splitting from BHP Billiton in May, but ended the year at $1.065.
Its parent BHP Billiton ended the year down 35 per cent at $17.86, with another 1.3 per cent decline on New Year's Eve.
Rio Tinto fared relatively well for a resources stock — off just 23 per cent for the year.
Most other companies on the market posted smaller falls on the last day of the year.
The exception was Woolworths, down 2.1 per cent to $24.50 — 20 per cent lower for the year.
But the worst performing major stock this year was law firm Slater and Gordon, down 87 per cent to 82.5 cents.
On the other end of the scale, the vitamin business was very healthy, with Blackmores up 519 per cent to $217.98.
In commodities markets, West Texas crude oil was down at $US36.54 a barrel while spot gold was at $US1,062 an ounce.
The Australian dollar was a little stronger on New Year's Eve, at $US0.73, but down 11 per cent from the start of the year, when it was worth $0.82.
Source: ABC News