Outlook: ASX 2011 review, 2012 outlook

Market Reports

The Australian share market looks to start the first day of the 2012 trading year in the red after losing 14.5 per cent in the 2011 calendar year. Concerns over global growth, fuelled by Europe’s lingering sovereign debt crisis, dominated last year’s headlines and attention continues to remain fixed on the region.

2011 Calendar year figures

The S&P/ASX200 index dropped from 4,745 to 4,057 at the end of 2011. The index hit a high of 4,971 on April 11, 2011 and slumped to a low of 3,863 on September 26, 2011. The broader All Ordinaries index fell 15.2 per cent over 2011 to finish at 4,111 after losing 1 per cent the year before. 

New Zealand’s market shed 1 per cent over the year.

The major US indexes posted mixed results in 2011: The broad S&P 500 index finished the year almost where it began losing 0.04 of a point, or 0.003 per cent, to close at 1,258. It was one of the smallest annual changes on record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 5.53 per cent over the year while the Nasdaq fell 1.8 per cent in 2011.
European shares posted their largest annual fall in three years: UK markets dropped 5.6 per cent, France dropped 17.8 per cent and Germany dropped 15.4 per cent.

Asian markets: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 20 per cent, in Japan Tokyo’s Nikkei dropped 17 per cent and China’s Shanghai benchmark dropped 22 per cent.

Latest market figures

Wall Street ended the last day of the year 0.4 per cent lower and is now closed for the New Year holiday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 69 points down at 12,218, the S&P500 finished 5 points down at 1,258 and the Nasdaq finished 9 points down at 2,605.

European markets: London’s FTSE was closed yesterday and finished the last day of the year 6 points higher. Yesterday, Paris closed 62 points higher and Frankfurt rose 177 points in its first trading session of the year.
On the last day of the trading year Asian markets closed higher: Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 36 points, Tokyo Nikkei was up 56 and China’s Shanghai Composite was up 26 points.
The Australian share market closed 0.36 per cent lower on the last day of 2011 in a shortened session with low trading volumes. On Friday December 30, 2011 the S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 15 points over the day, capping off a fall of 84 points over the week, to finish at 4,057.

On the futures market the SPI was down 16 points on Friday.


The Australian Dollar at 8:50AM was buying $US1.0238 cents, 66 Pence Sterling, 78.74 Yen and 79.17 Euro cents.

Over the 2011 calendar year the Australian Dollar lost about 1 per cent against the US Dollar, after gaining 14 per cent the year before. The Australian dollar hit a 28-year high of $US1.108 in July and dropped to a low of 94 US cents in October.

Economic news

Due out today from the Reserve Bank of Australia, its index of commodity prices for December 2011.

2011 Best and worst performing sectors

The best performing sector was Telecommunications, gaining 18 per cent over the year. The boost was helped by Australia’s largest telecommunications company, Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) with its share price growing 18 per cent in 2011 after three years of declines. The only other sector to add value last year was Utilities, gaining almost 3 per cent over 2011.

The Materials sector was the worst performer of 2011, dropping 25 per cent as commodity prices pulled back from their highs. The consumer discretionary sector also took a hit, dropping 22 per cent last year as shoppers continued to save more and move online.

Aberdeen Leaders Limited (ASX:ALR) is going ex-dividend with a 2 cent fully franked dividend.  


Gold is up $25.90 to $US1,566 an ounce for the February contract on Comex.
Silver is up $0.60 to $27.92 for March.
Copper is up $0.07 at $3.44 a pound.
Oil is down $0.82 at $98.83 a barrel for February light crude in New York.

2011 Commodities

The price of gold rose more than 10 per cent in 2011 after rising 30 per cent the year before. It was the eleventh consecutive annual rise for the precious metal that hit a record high of $US1920.30 an ounce in September 2011.

Over 2011 silver lost 10 per cent, copper fell about 23 per cent and oil prices ended the year up 13 per cent.

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