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ASX lower on lack of overseas direction

The Australian share market has closed slightly lower with a lack of direction from overseas markets with major Asian exchanges closed for holidays.

With an underwhelming lead from Wall Street and holidays in China and Japan, moves in the local share market were modest on Monday.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index which rose about 0.5 per cent last, was down 7.7 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 6,186.9 points at 1615 AEST on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries index was 5.9 points, or 0.09 per cent, lower at 6,299.5 points.

The mining sector, which rose almost four per cent last week, was among the worst performers following a drop in gold prices and renewed worries over US-China trade relations.

Rio Tinto was down 1.22 per cent at $78.52, while South32 shares were down 1.28 per cent at $3.85 after being ordered to pay for ongoing healthcare of indigenous Colombian communities claiming health problems from a nearby open-cut nickel mine.

BHP was doing the best work to offset the losses, rising 0.74 per cent to $33.83.

Oil price rises helped energy stocks, with Origin Energy improving 0.75 per cent to $8.02.

The big banks were mixed with National Bank of Australia and ANZ the best performers up 0.22 per cent and 0.42 per cent respectively.

The Aussie dollar was buying $72.65 US cents at 1615 AEST.

The US Federal Reserve is expected to lift its interest rate by a quarter of a per cent later this week.

"At the moment the market is still expecting potentially another rate hike in December, and any hint or change to the tone of the statement could move currencies around," CommSec chief market analyst Steven Daghlian told AAP.

ON THE ASX:

* The S&P/ASX200 closed down 7.7 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 6,186.9 points.

* The All Ordinaries was 5.9 points, or 0.09 per cent, lower at 6,299.5 points

* In futures trading the SPI200 futures index was down seven points, or 0.11 per cent, at 6,185 points at 1630 AEST.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 72.65 US cents, from 72.89 US cents on Friday.

* 81.79 Japanese yen, from 82.23

* 61.91 euro cents, from 61.88

* 55.56 British pence, from 54.97

* 108.98 NZ cents, from 108.97

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEST was $US1,194.79 per fine ounce, from $US1,208.71 on Friday.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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