The Australian share market closed 0.06 per cent lower snapping a record breaking 12 day winning streak. The market opened lower and was kept below the red line by a sell off in the banks and miners until a late afternoon surge lifted the market to within cooee of its opening numbers.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 5 points down to finish at 5,815.
The value of trades was $4.36 billion on volume of 996 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ)
, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
and Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS)
On the futures market the SPI is 8 points up.
The ANZ has reported an eighth consecutive rise in job ads with January advertisements up 1.3 per cent month on month propelling a 10 per cent rise in the figures since January last year. Internet ads are up by 15 per cent year on year while newspaper ads are increasing their decline rapidly, down 24 per cent in the past 12 months. The figures are showing encouraging signs that the overall demand for new labour is rising.
Fairfax Media Limited's (ASX:FXJ)
multi-billionaire shareholder Gina Rinehart is understood to have sold out of the media group. Ms Rinehart is believed to have offloaded her 14.99 per cent interest on Friday night. The trade was executed at 86.75 cents per share, valuing the stake at more than $300 million. Fairfax Media closed 8.85 per cent down at $0.88.
Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN)
says it’s on track to deliver on its strategic objectives after increasing its interim net profit by 34 per cent on the back of recent acquisitions. The gloves and condoms maker delivered a first half net profit of $US87.7 million while sales grew 20 per cent to $US847 million. The company said improving conditions in the US offset weakening markets elsewhere and confirmed its full year guidance. Shares in Ansell closed 5.38 per cent up at $24.30.
Strong housing market conditions have helped AVJennings Limited (ASX:AVJ)
improve first half net profit by 42 per cent to $11.9 million.
Coffey International Limited (ASX:COF)
half year results produced a profit of just $1 million and revealed a 8 per cent drop in geoservices revenue compared to the same period last year.
Recently listed Lovisa Holdings Limited (ASX:LOV)
has confirmed its prospectus forecasts after boosting first half sales by 33 per cent and growing net profits 66 per cent to $12.3 million.
And shares in Central Petroleum Limited (ASX:CTP)
spiked more than 38 per cent after providing an update for its Dingo Gas project and announcing early gas sales. The Dingo Gas Field remains under budget and slated for completion in the second quarter of this year.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was healthcare adding 1.9 per cent to close at 18,559. The worst performing sector was telco services, losing 1.2 per cent to close at 2,268 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was MMA Offshore, rising 7.82 per cent to close at $0.96. Shares in Skilled Group and Sirtex also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was the aforementioned Fairfax Media. Shares in Beadell Resources and PanAust also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,237 an ounce. Light crude is $1.21 higher at $US51.69 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 77.65 US cents.