Following negative leads, the Australian share market opened lower and traded in negative territory before closing 1.5 per cent down.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 61 points to finish at 4,144. On the futures market the SPI is currently 71 points down.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported that gross domestic product in the final quarter of 2011 expanded 0.4 per cent coming in under expectations. For the 2011 calendar year GDP rose 2.3 per cent.
Amcor Limited (ASX:AMC) announced today the acquisition of Aperio Group for $238 million subject to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approval. The significant acquisition for the packaging company is expected to deliver a return on investment of more than 20 per cent within three years. Shares in Amcor closed 1.47 per cent higher at $6.90.
Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) has finalised agreements with the government for the National Broadband Network. CEO David Thodey says the agreements were expected to provide Telstra with $11 billion. Shares in Telstra closed 0.62 per cent lower at $3.23.
QBE Insurance Group Limited (ASX:QBE) has inked a deal to acquire the general insurance businesses of HSBC Argentina and Hang Seng bank.
Online movie rental company Quickflix Limited (ASX:QFX) has entered into its second content licensing deal, this time with BBC Worldwide Australia.
Shares in Kagara Limited (ASX:KZL) plunged to the worst performer, shedding more than a third of their value after investors responded to a profit drop and board restructure.
Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ) says Gina Rinehart who has a 12.58 per cent stake in the company wants a seat on the board.
Best and worst performers
All sectors closed in the red. The sector with the smallest losses was Utilities losing 9 points to close at 4558. The worst performing sector was Industrials, dropping 79 points to close at 3630 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Austar United Communications Limited (ASX:AUN) , rising 5.15 per cent to close at $1.43. Shares in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (ASX:TEL) and GWA International Limited (ASX:GWA) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Kagara Limited (ASX:KZL) dropping 38.71 per cent to close at $0.19. Shares in Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC) and NRW Holdings Limited (ASX:NWH) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,675 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.26 higher at $US104.96 a barrel.