The Australian share market has extended its losses for the day, closing 1.1 per cent down, after China reported a contraction in orders from small and medium manufacturers for the eighth consecutive month.
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 45 points down to finish at 4,088. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 35 points down.
The Westpac-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey has seen no lift in the manufacturing sector, despite interest rate cuts. The survey’s composite index was 47.9 points in the June quarter compared with 47.8 in the previous three months. A reading below 50 separates expansion from contraction. Looking ahead to industry expectations for the September quarter, the expected composite sits mostly unchanged at 51.7 points from 51.5.
Speaking at an industry conference, Rio Tinto Limited’s (ASX:RIO) chief executive Andrew Harding says, there is plenty of growth potential for Rio’s copper division and confirmed its Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold project was now 85 per cent complete. Mr Harding also confirmed the project was on track to deliver first commercial production by 2013. Shares in Rio closed 1.42 per cent down at $56.90.
Perpetual Limited (ASX:PPT) has reduced its stake in gaming group Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP) to 5.18 per cent. The news follows Genting Group lifting its stake in Echo to almost 10 per cent earlier this week. Shares in Perpetual closed 0.25 per cent up $23.69.
Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG) has downgraded its full year earnings, due to deteriorating trading conditions. Separately, the company’s chairman Ted Kunkel said he will retire between October and February next year. The surf-wear retailer was placed in a trading halt today, as it announced a proposed capital raising.
Shares in Pacific Energy Limited (ASX:PEA) have jumped after announcing it has secured a contract by AngloGold Ashanti Australia and Independence Group NL (ASX:IGO) for their gold mine development in Western Australia.
Leighton Holdings Limited’s (ASX:LEI) associate Dubai based company Habtoor Leighton Group has secured a major construction contract for works in Abu Dhabi.
Premier Investments Limited (ASX:PMV) has appointed Colette Gamsey as core brand director for Premier Retail, overseeing its fashion brands.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Telco Services adding 3 points to close at 1,233.
The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 335 points to close at 12,336 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC) rising 5.88 per cent to close at $0.36. Shares in Gryphon Minerals and Goodman Group also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Acrux Limited (ASX:ACR) dropping 14.5 per cent to close at $4.07. Shares in Senex Energy and Coalspur Mines also closed lower.
A1 Consolidated Gold Limited (ASX:AYC) floated today with an issue price of $0.30 opening at $0.295 and a closing price of $0.235.
Gold is trading at $US1,600 an ounce. Light crude is $1.04 down at $US80.41 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.016