The Australian share market has fallen 0.3 per cent, recovering somewhat from the day’s earlier losses as investors responded to disappointing economic data out of China.
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index lost 12 points finishing the week 35 points higher at 4,064. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 4 points lower.
Looking at Wall Street, over its three trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 136 points. The S&P 500 Index dropped 10 points, the Nasdaq lost 12 points, and the 100 Index fell 6 points.
China's official Purchasing Managers Index dropped to 50.4 in May, just above the 50 level that signifies expansion.
According to RP Data, residential property values across capital cities dropped 1.4 per cent last month and are down 5.3 per cent over the year.
Also, manufacturing activity has fallen. According to the Australian Industry Group-PricewaterhouseCoopers, the performance of manufacturing index fell 1.5 points to 42.4 in May, below the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction.
BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) will challenge a $174 million tax bill from the ATO. BlueScope says the revised assessment relates to a sale and leaseback arrangement from 2007. The company says it believes its treatment of the transaction is correct and supported by case law and ATO rulings. It acknowledges the resolution is likely to take some time. BlueScope shares fell 7.25 per cent today, closing at $0.32.
Elders Limited (ASX:ELD) announces Ruralco Holdings Limited (ASX:RHL) has acquired a 10.1 per cent interest. Ruralco says it doesn’t intend on making a takeover bid. The ASX today asked Elders to provide an explanation for the change in its share price from a low of 18.5 cents yesterday. Elders says it’s not aware of any reason for the share price movement that hasn’t already been announced. Elders shares gained 21.62 per cent, closing at $0.23.
Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) chief Nev Power says the company will reassess its aggressive iron ore expansion plans.
And Westpac Banking Corporation’s (ASX:WBC) chief economist Bill Evans predicts the Reserve Bank will cut rates to a record low by the end of the year.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Telco Services gaining 30 points to close at 1,248. The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 161 points to close at 9,627.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Telstra Corporation (ASX:TLS), rising 2.54 per cent to close at $3.64. Shares in Ansell Limited and Westfield Group also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Aquarius Platinum (ASX:AQP), dropping 13.33 per cent to close at $1.04. Shares in Energy World Corporation and BlueScope Steel Limited also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,559 an ounce and is down $13.55 on the week. Light crude is $1.29 lower at $US86.53 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying 96.93 US cents and is more than half a cent lower over the week.