THE SHARE MARKET'S ENDED THE YEAR DOWN... IN A SHORTENED SESSION AHEAD OF THE NEW YEAR HOLIDAY. THE ASX 200 GAVE BACK POINT-FOUR PER CENT. LED BY RESOURCE AND CONSUMER STOCKS. THE DOLLAR IS GAINING GROUND IN THIS SESSION.. ITS CLOSE TO 104 US CENTS.. THAT'S UP TWO PER CENT FOR THE YEAR.

WELL ITS THE LAST TRADING DAY OF 2012. WE'VE SEEN CHINA'S ECONOMY ACHIEVE A SOFT LANDING... THE RBA CUT ONE AND A QAURTER PER CENT OFF THE CASH RATE.... AND THE EUROPEAN CRISIS HEADLINES REPLACED BY US BUDGET PROBLEMS... THE ASX 200 HAS CLOSED AROUND 14 PER CENT HIGHER FOR THE YEAR. CRAIG JAMES CHIEF ECONOMIST WITH COMMSEC.. SAYS ITS THE BEST RESULT IN SEVERAL YEARS.

JUST HOURS FROM THE DEADLINE, THERE'S STILL NO SIGN OF ANY BREAKTHROUGH TO STOP THE UNITED STATES GOING OVER ITS SO-CALLED FISCAL CLIFF. DESPITE LAST- MINUTE SITTINGS OF BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS, THERE'S STILL NO AGREEMENT ON STEPS TO AVOID THE CLIFF WHICH WILL LEAD TO MANDATORY SPENDING CUTS AND TAX RISES.. WHICH ARE PREDICTED TO PLUNGE THE UNITED STATES BACK INTO RECESSION.

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