The Australian market lost ground today, despite a positive session for US and EU shares overnight. Closer to home HSBC released its preliminary data for China’s September purchasing managers index came out at 47.8, compared to 47.6 for the final score in August.
A reading below 50 indicates contraction in the manufacturing sector. The local sectors closed mostly in the red with materials and energy stocks the hardest hit. Consumer staples, property and telcos managed to record gains.
The financials were mixed, with ANZ up 0.7% and NAB ending flat. Westpac (-0.9%) and CBA (-0.7%) both closed in the red. The mining majors weighed on the market on the back of the weak Chinese data.
BHP and Rio Tinto lost 1.5% and 2.1% respectively, whilst Fortescue let go of 2.4%. Kathmandu Holdings added 0.7% despite reporting an FY12 net profit of NZ$34.85 million, a 10.8% fall on the prior corresponding period.
Elsewhere, Billabong shares plummeted 7.3% after announcing that the second bidder has withdrawn from the formal bidding process. The ASX 200 shed 21 points (-0.5%) to settle at 4397.