Lacklustre day on share market as investors await US Federal Reserve meeting

It was another lacklustre day of trade on the share market as investors await a key meeting of the US Federal Reserve later this week.

Falling prices for oil and iron ore hit energy and mining stocks, while most other sectors posted modest gains.

The All Ordinaries Index lost two points to close at 5,385 while the ASX 200 also dipped by two points to finish on 5,346.

Energy stocks posted the biggest losses after the price of oil fell overnight.

Oil and gas producer Beach Energy shed 7.3 per cent to close at 64 cents after reporting a fall in quarterly output, while Santos closed down 1.3 per cent at $6.34.

Santos was one of the best performers in the energy sector amid reports it has received an offer from Quadrant Energy to buy out some West Australian oil and gas fields the companies jointly own.

Last week, Santos rejected a more than $7 billion take over offer from the investment firm Scepter Partners.

Iron ore miners also tumbled after prices for the commodity slumped yesterday ? Fortescue Metals retreated by 9 per cent to close at $2.33.

NAB shares are on a trading halt before an announcement on a "material transaction" tomorrow.

A Japanese newspaper has reported the bank plans to sell most of its life insurance business to Nippon Life Insurance.

NAB will release its full-year results tomorrow.

Elsewhere in the sector, ANZ closed relatively flat, up a 0.1 per cent to $28.94, the bank will reveal its full-year results later this week.

Retailer Harvey Norman led retail stocks higher after reporting a 7 per cent rise in global sales for the three months to the end of September.

Harvey Norman said its unaudited profit before tax came in at nearly $92 million for the September quarter, up by 28 per cent from the same time last year.

Harvey Norman's shares closed 3.1 per cent higher at $3.98.

The dollar is slipping after a relatively flat day of trade and about 5:00pm AEST was buying 72.4 US cents.

It was also fetching 65.4 euro cents, 87.3 Japanese yen and 47.1 British pence.

Spot gold was slightly lower at $US1,164 an ounce, while West Texas crude was buying $US43.04 a barrel and in Singapore, Tapis crude was trading at $US47.81 a barrel.

Source: ABC News

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