Share market off to a slow start as Wesfarmers dips due to Target scandal

The share market has started the week in lacklustre fashion, with healthy gains for energy and mining stocks overshadowed by losses for most other sectors.

The All Ordinaries index slipped by a tenth of a per cent to close at 5,013 while the ASX-200 index finished six points lower at 4,932.

Energy stocks rallied as oil prices rose again amid a run of gains in the lead up to next week's meeting of the oil producing cartel OPEC.

Worley Parsons closed 5.3 per cent higher at $5.58.

There was solid momentum across the resources sector — Fortescue Metals jumped by 7.1 per cent and Rio Tinto gained 2.4 per cent to $44.28.

Gold miners also rallied as the price of the precious metal hit a near three-week high, with spot gold fetching $US1,251 an ounce.

Newcrest Mining added 3.4 per cent to $18.13.

Banks slip while Wesfarmers feel Target pinch

But bank stocks were a drag, amid persistent worries about their exposure to bad debts and higher funding costs.

Investors are waiting for the banks' latest profit results which are due next month.

NAB fared the worst of the big lenders, down 0.8 per cent to $24.93.

Elsewhere, the retail and mining conglomerate Wesfarmers closed down 0.8 per cent at $40.02 after an investigation into accounting issues at department store Target.

Target's earnings were inflated by $21 million in the December half last year, leading to the resignation of its outgoing boss Stuart Machin.

Elsewhere, Telstra slipped by a fifth of a per cent to $5.15 despite news it signed a $1.6 billion contract with the National Broadband Network to boost its cable internet network.

Meanwhile the Australian dollar is steady against the greenback and was buying 75.5 US cents on Monday afternoon.

It is also fetching 66.2 euro cents, 81.4 Japanese yen and 53.4 British pence.

Source: ABC News

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