Australia stocks lower at close of trade; S&P/ASX 200 down 0.86%

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At the close in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.86%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P/ASX 200 were Macquarie Group Ltd (ASX:MQG), which rose 6.62% or 8.890 points to trade at 143.140 at the close. Meanwhile, Graincorp Ltd (ASX:GNC) added 4.74% or 0.20 points to end at 4.42 and AP Eagers Ltd (ASX:APE) was up 4.25% or 0.59 points to 14.47 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Challenger Ltd (ASX:CGF), which fell 14.82% or 1.070 points to trade at 6.150 at the close. Boral Ltd. (ASX:BLD) declined 7.39% or 0.400 points to end at 5.010 and Adelaide Brighton Ltd (ASX:ABC) was down 5.90% or 0.190 points to 3.030.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Sydney Stock Exchange by 723 to 618 and 353 ended unchanged.

Shares in AP Eagers Ltd (ASX:APE) rose to 5-year highs; rising 4.25% or 0.59 to 14.47.

The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was up 3.31% to 14.457.

Gold Futures for April delivery was up 0.48% or 8.85 to $1843.05 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in March rose 0.78% or 0.45 to hit $58.42 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract rose 0.71% or 0.43 to trade at $61.13 a barrel.

AUD/USD was up 0.24% to 0.7719, while AUD/JPY fell 0.14% to 80.91.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.25% at 90.718.