The Australian share market traded in a narrow range this morning before dipping into the red ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) interest rate decision and staying down after the Central Bank made no change to the official interest rate.
The S&P/ASX 200 index pulled back 6 points to finish at 4,127. On the futures market the SPI is currently steady.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept the nation’s official interest rate on hold at 3.5 per cent at its July board meeting. The move comes in line with expectations and following two straight months of rate cuts, down by 50 basis points in May and down by 25 basis points in June.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported building approvals have jumped more than five times the amount expected. Approvals for new dwellings jumped 27.3 per cent in May after falling 7.6 per cent the month before. However analysts have warned the data series is volatile and that the latest numbers are from a low base and include mainly apartment approvals rather than housing.
Shares in Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC) leapt to today’s best performer after announcing its oil production increased to more than 4,000 barrels of oil per day in June. CEO Peter Bond described the announcement as a milestone and confirmed the company is on track to meet its guidance of between 6000 to 7000 barrels of oil per day by year’s end. Shares in Linc Energy leapt 12.41 per cent, closing at $0.77.
Shares in Flinders Mines Limited (ASX:FMS) retreated after the iron ore developer advised its suitor has effectively abandoned its takeover plans through terminating its scheme implementation agreement. Russia's third-largest steel producer launched the $554 million takeover bid for Flinders at the end of last year which hit a hurdle after a Russian shareholder launched legal action this year. Shares in Flinders Mines retreated 7.41 per cent today, ending at $0.13.
Australia’s corporate regulator has confirmed it will investigate the now withdrawn $1.65 takeover bid for department store retailer David Jones Limited (ASX:DJS) by the mysterious UK based firm, EB Private Equity.
Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) has been cleared by regulators and received the go-ahead from its joint venture partners to sell part of its majority stake in the Browse gas project to Japanese companies, Mitsubishi and Mitsui.
Wealth manager Perpetual Limited (ASX:PPT) has gotten the green light from regulators to boost its potential voting power in casino owner and takeover target Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP) from 10 per cent to 15 per cent.
Infrastructure provider Cardno Limited (ASX:CDD) will acquire a US mining, energy and environmental consulting firm Marshall Miller & Associates and a US environmental and compliance management firm EM-Assist Inc, for a total price of $US45.25 million.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was Consumer Discretionary adding 4 points to close at 1,236. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 127 points to close at 12,013 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC), rising 12.41 per cent to close at $0.77. Shares in FKP Property Group (ASX:FKP) and St. Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Coalspur Mines Limited (ASX:CPL), dropping 6.02 per cent to close at $0.63. Shares in Mirabela Nickel Limited (ASX:MBN) and Evolution (ASX:EVN) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,605 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.69 up at $U84.44 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.027.