Australia shares lower at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 down 1.34%

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Australia shares lower at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 down 1.34%
Credit: © Reuters. – Australia equities were lower at the close on Thursday, as losses in the Metals & Mining , Gold and Materials sectors propelled shares lower.

At the close in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 1.34% to hit a new 52-week low.

The biggest gainers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were NIB Holdings (AX: NHF ), which rose 3.34% or 0.160 points to trade at 4.950 at the close. Medibank Private Ltd (AX: MPL ) added 3.33% or 0.080 points to end at 2.480 and Metcash Ltd (AX: MTS ) was up 2.98% or 0.070 points to 2.420 in late trade.

Biggest losers included Myob Group Ltd (AX: MYO ), which lost 13.95% or 0.470 points to trade at 2.900 in late trade. Orocobre Ltd (AX: ORE ) declined 13.59% or 0.530 points to end at 3.370 and Galaxy Resources Ltd (AX: GXY ) shed 10.20% or 0.250 points to 2.200.

Declining stocks outnumbered rising ones by 809 to 348 and 321 ended unchanged on the Sydney Stock Exchange.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX , which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was up 16.96% to 20.592 a new 1-month high.

In commodities trading, Gold Futures for February delivery was down 0.64% or 8.05 to $1248.35 a troy ounce. Meanwhile, Crude oil for delivery in February fell 2.18% or 1.05 to hit $47.12 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract fell 1.59% or 0.91 to trade at $56.33 a barrel.

AUD/USD was down 0.28% to 0.7088, while AUD/JPY fell 0.64% to 79.44.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.12% at 96.370.

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