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While Wall Street posted some more record gains overnight, the traditional “Santa Claus Rally” was dampened in global markets. 

The Santa Claus Rally is a seasonal phenomenon wherein markets generally tend to trend positively for the last week of trade and the first few days of the new year. The reason for the positive run is generally unknown but theorised to be the cause of positive holiday spirit or institutional investors booking vacations and leaving the trading to the more bullish retail investors.

Regardless of the cause, the Aussie stock exchange missed out on the holiday excitement today.

The ASX 200 declined 0.46 per cent as it edged further away from last Thursday’s premium. The index lost 31.20 points and closed at 6785.10. 

Mining stocks weighed heavily on the losses as the big players all sunk. BHP ease 1.26 per cent and Rio Tinto dropped 1.63 per cent.

Even Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals, which avoided red for 10 straight sessions as it traded comfortably in 11-year highs, dropped 1.19 per cent today and brought its strong run to a sad end. Fortescue shares were worth $10.82 each when the market closed.

The health care sector pulled the market down further. CSL saw a morning spike but quickly declined to close 1.01. per cent red. Cochlear lost 0.88 per cent. 

Only New Zealand-based sleep apnoea specialist Fisher and Paykel fought off the losses with a slight 0.047 per cent gain.

Our banking giants didn’t fare any better. Commonwealth Bank was the worst of the big four for the second session in a row — a sight that’s become unusual for the finance sector — and declined 0.50 per cent to $80.84 per share. 

ANZ eased 0.28 per cent as NAB and Westpac fought to stay out the red but posted slight losses. NAB closed 0.16 per cent red, while Westpac lost 0.082 per cent.

The technology sector helped fend off the worst of the losses, however, as Xero gained a healthy 3.43 per cent and hit a new all-time high. Afterpay gained 0.72 per cent, while WiseTech started the week poorly and lost 1.17 per cent.

Retail stocks kicked off the trading session in the red today but some decent midday gains turned things around. Woolworths gained 0.86 per cent, Coles 0.46 per cent, and Wesfarmers 0.17 per cent. 

Once again, Asian markets were somewhat mixed. The Asia Dow lost 0.12 per cent while Japan’s Nikkei 225gained 0.02 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Sengtiptoed between the red and the green all day but was up a slight 0.04 per cent by the time the Australian market closed. 

Back down under, the Australian dollar is stronger again and buying 69.03 US cents, 53.06 pence, 75.56 Yen. 

Today’s ups and downs

Small-cap diamond miner Gibb River Diamonds was the best performer on the market today, gaining 81.48 per cent at market close after buying the Ellendale Diamond Mine in Western Australia. Gibb said in an announcement to the market the mine has previously produced 1.3 million carats of diamonds. Gibb’s shares rose from 2.7 cents to 4.9 cents each today.

Engineering and construction company Decmil Group slumped 38.52 per cent to a 10-year low after a bleak market update. This is the second round of bad news in the last month for the company, which has seen its share price slashed in half since the start of December. Along with a $7 million devaluation of its Homeground Gladstone village, Decmil’s CFO suddenly resigned due to “health and family reasons”. Decmil shares are worth 42 cents today after trading near $1 each for the better part of 2019. 

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