Slumping mining stocks have held back the Australian sharemarket.

The price of gold set a third consecutive five-year low, closing down 1.1 per cent after dropping for a tenth straight session.
Iron ore again flirted with the psychologically important $US50 a tonne mark after plunging 2.8 per cent overnight and copper slid nearly 2 per cent after Goldman Sachs warned prices could retreat 20 per cent by the end of next year due to soft Chinese demand.
Meanwhile, oil prices slumped following a surprisingly high reading in US stockpiles with US Nymex crude diving 3.3 per cent and global benchmark Brent crude falling 1.6 per cent.
The dive across commodities weighed on the mining and energy stocks, which prevented the local market from gaining.
At the 4.15pm (AEST) official market close, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 24.3 points, or 0.43 per cent, to 5590.3, while the broader All Ordinaries index retreated 22.2 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 5581.3.
The Australian dollar has also slipped, falling back under the US74c level to hover around the mid-US73c range during morning trade.
The World Bank trimmed its forecasts for several commodities overnight despite slightly lifting its projections for oil prices for the remainder of the year. The bank now expects metals prices to average 17 per cent lower by the end of 2015 compared to the same time last year.
Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut its key interest rate this morning and said further easing was likely, as the central bank tries to help jump-start inflation while buffering the economy from a dramatic slide in the price of dairy products, New Zealand’s main export.
The local market was also tracking weaker after stocks on Wall Street retreated, with earnings reports from Apple and Microsoft disappointing investors.
Macquarie Equities division director Lucinda Chan said recent volatility across the markets, stemming from Greece’s debt crisis and China’s equity bubble bursting, were now continuing with the US corporate reporting season.
“Markets are on the back foot to some extent,” Ms Chan said. “The US is supposed to be the world leader in company sentiment, but earnings have been fairly flat, or below expectations.
“It’s always the case at the start of a new financial year that the market is a bit directionless, but recent local data hasn’t pleased traders, and neither has the talk of further interest rate cuts.”
Materials weighed heavily on the bourse. Fortescue declined 6 per cent to $1.645 after it said it was selling its iron ore at a lower price than the benchmark spot price for the June quarter. Investors pushed the stock to its lowest point since 2008 on the release of its quarterly production figures.
Meanwhile, BHP Billiton plummeted 2.93 per cent to $25.50, Rio Tinto sank 1.88 per cent to $51.20.
Newcrest Mining, however, bounced 2.69 per cent to $11.84, after it posted its ninth straight quarter of production within its guidance range.
Energy stocks also hung lower. Santos plunged 1.93 per cent to $7.11 while Woodside Petroleum edged 1.44 per cent lower to $33.61.
Financials were, on the whole, weaker after a fierce sell-off in ANZ shares. The bank announced tighter controls on its investor home loans, increasing the interest rate by 30 basis points. ANZ closed 1.2 per cent lower at $32.15.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Bank gave up 0.38 per cent to $86.30, NAB lost 0.53 per cent to $34.10, and Westpac retreated 0.26 per cent to $34.26.
But Macquarie Group gained 0.41 per cent to $84.81, as the silver doughnut raised its profit expectations for the coming financial year.
Consumer staples were weaker, with a soft performance from the supermarkets. Wesfarmers dipped 0.19 per cent to $41.60, while Woolworths gave up 0.78 per cent to $28.08. Metcash tanked 3.64 per cent to $1.06.
Elsewhere, Telstra picked up 0.16 per cent to $6.35 and Qantas surged 2.74 per cent to $3.75.
source: The Australian.