Interest rates and resource outputs weigh on ASX

Reported by Scott Phillips
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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After tracking higher in the first couple of hours of trade, the S&P / ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) couldn’t hang on to its early gains on Tuesday 17th April, closing down 0.3% to 4288.6 points.

The market seemed to lose steam after the Reserve Bank released the minutes from its most recent meeting, outlining its plans to use the upcoming Consumer Price Index (CPI) read as its guide for the next move on rates.

As is always the case, though, the index return only tells part of the story. It’s the weighted average of the 200 companies that make up the index – meaning that half of the index (by weight) did better than that mark, and the other half worse.

Leading the charge today were the miners – bouncing back from losses at the end of last week. Streeting the field was Energy Resources of Australia (ASX: ERA) with a 12.7% gain today alone. ERA left the others in its dust, but Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX: LYC) managed a very creditable 5% gain, and Energy World Corporation Ltd. (ASX: EWC) closed up 4.6%. Rounding out the top 5 were Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD) with a 2.9% bump and Australian Infrastructure Fund Ltd. (ASX: AIX), up 2.7%.

With gainers of this magnitude, and the index showing losses on the day, it was inevitable that there’d be some big losers among the 60% of the companies that ended lower today.

Providing a neat bookend to ERA’s gain, was Linc Energy Ltd (ASX: LNC), which closed down13%. There were some other heavy losers today, with 13 companies showing losses of 3% or more. Among the largest were Mirabela Nickel Limited (ASX: MBN), off 8.3%, Ramelius Resources Limited (ASX: RMS), down 5.5%, Regis Resources Limited (ASX: RRL), which shed 5.3%, and Mineral Deposits Limited (ASX: MDL), which dropped 4.8% today.

In other news, Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) released output figures which disappointed the market, with a 0.7% fall in the share price.

The Australian dollar dipped after the release of the RBA minutes, down 0.5c to $1.0305 just before 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday.

As always, an index throws the good in with the bad, and you should never read too much into a single day’s share price movement. We Fools remain on the hunt for the best shares on the market – using dips as a buying opportunity.

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