Australian share market slides on mining losses

Big falls in the mining sector have led the local share market almost 2 per cent lower.

The oil price fell again but BHP saw its worst one-day drop in years, losing $1.45 to $16.18.

The world's biggest miner on Tuesday posted a half-year loss of almost $8 billion and slashed its dividend payouts.

With the banking sector also down, this led the All Ordinaries 95 points lower to 4,943.

The ASX 200 lost 104 points to 4,875.

Another half a dozen firms released their results on Wednesday. Fortescue Metals Group posted a modest half-year profit of $US319 ($444 million) in the six months to December, down about 4 per cent.

FMG closed down 10 cents to $2.

The port and rail operator Asciano saw half-year after-tax profits up more than 5 per cent, to just under $200 million. Its stocks closed flat at $9.

Wesfarmers saw a 1.2 per cent lift in profits thanks to growth at Bunnings and Coles for an after-tax result of $1.4 billion for the half year. The company's shares lost $2.12 to $41.50.

In commodities, oil dropped back to $US31.79 an ounce.

Iron ore lifted to $US50.50 a tonne.

Gold also lifted to $US1,227 an ounce and Australian dollar was buying 71.8 US cents.

Source: ABC News

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