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ASX down 0.63% as retail sales fall short of expectations

Retail sales in December dropped by 2.7%, falling short of the expected 1.9% decline, indicating that consumers reduced their spending ahead of Christmas. This trend suggests a continued shift in end-of-year shopping habits towards November, driven by Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, while annual sales for December increased by 0.8%.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.63 per cent higher at 7,630.50.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 44 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 1.79 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Energy, down 0.39 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST), trading 2.39 per cent higher at $13.26. It is followed by shares in Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX) and EBOS Group (ASX:EBO).

The worst-performing large cap is Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY), trading 1.78 per cent lower at $6.08. It is followed by shares in Infratil (ASX:IFT) and Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.

One Australian dollar is buying 66.18 US cents.