Australian share market ends volatile week lower

The Australian share market has continued a volatile week, easing back after two strong days of gains.

The benchmark ASX 200 finished the day 1.2 per cent lower at 5,052, while the broader All Ordinaries fell 55 points to 5,089.

But trading volumes were light, with many Melbourne brokers out of the office for the new AFL grand final public holiday.

Many traders elsewhere around the country would also be on holiday, taking advantage of the looming Labour Day long weekend in New South Wales and several other states.

For those active on the market, selling was the order of the day.

The major banks fell fairly steeply ? Westpac and ANZ were both down just over 2 per cent and National Australia Bank about 1.5 per cent.

The Commonwealth Bank outperformed, as it has done most of this week, falling just 1.2 per cent to $73.39.

Most resources stocks also eased again.

Rio Tinto gave up 1.7 per cent and Woodside Petroleum 0.7 per cent, while BHP Billiton had a modest 0.4 per cent decline.

But some of the stocks that struggled yesterday bounced today with Fortescue Metals up 2.5 per cent to $1.84.

Most retailers fell, even though Bureau of Statistics figures showed sales rose 0.4 per cent in August.

Myer and Harvey Norman were down more than 2 per cent, JB Hi-Fi lost 33 cents to $19.12 and Wesfarmers shed 1.5 per cent.

Woolworths bucked the trend, edging up 2 cents to $25.52.

Around 5:00pm AEST the Australian dollar was stronger at 70.4 US cents, 63 euro cents, 84.5 Japanese yen and 46.5 British pence.

Brent crude had strengthened in Asian trade to $US48.35 a barrel, while spot gold was weaker at $US1,110 an ounce.

Source: ABC News