Market Wrap: Aus shares lose their puff

Market Reports


The Australian share market has wobbled all over the place today following negative leads from the US. The big four banks pulled the market up a little from its post lunch slump to end 0.07 per cent higher at the end of the trading day. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 4 points up to finish at 5,973. 
 
The value of trades was $4.8 billion on volume of 759 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 1 point down. 
 
Economic news

The Reserve Bank released its Financial Stability Review today, the report noted easy monetary policy globally is driving demand for commercial property. The central bank also said that prudential changes aimed slowing investor activity in the heated housing market have yet to have any effect. The RBA says there is not enough fundamental strength to support the price growth in the property sector and the risk of a slowdown in prices is increasing. 
 
Company news
 
Nufarm Limited (ASX:NUF)says it has improved its interim result as the company reported earnings growth in all major crop protection regions. The agricultural chemicals supplier boosted its net profit by 23 per cent to $23.1 million in the first half of the 2015 financial year. The result was aided by a 4 per cent increase in revenue but tempered by $3.3 million in restructuring costs. Looking ahead the company advises its sales and earnings remain heavily weighed to the second half along with the major cropping seasons. Shares in Nufarm closed 2.59 per cent down at $6.76. 
 
Meanwhile Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund Limited (ASX:FSF, NZE:FSF) has seen its interim profit and sales fall and described its result as below its farmers' expectations. The New Zealand-based dairy co-operative’s net profit dropped 16 per cent to about $178 million Australian dollars in the first half of the 2015 financial year. Fonterra declared an interim dividend of 10 cents per share and downwardly revised its forecast annual dividend range. Shares in Fonterra closed 7.69 per cent down at $5.40. 
 
AWE Limited (ASX:AWE) and Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) say their joint venture Erwin-1 exploration well in the onshore Perth Basin spudded this morning. 
 
UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) has won a three year contract worth around $120 million to provide plant services for Santos Limited’s (ASX:STO) GLNG liquefied natural gas project in Queensland. 
 
3P Learning Limited (ASX:3PL) has paid US$5 million for a 17 per cent stake in US-based Desmos, a leading online calculator business. 
 
And Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ) has nominated two of its directors, Greg Hywood and James Millar, for appointment to the board of Macquarie Radio Network.
 

Best and worst perfomers

The best performing sector was financials excluding real estate investment trusts adding 0.6 per cent to close at 8,389. The worst performing sector was real estate investment trusts, losing 0.7 per cent to close at 1,325 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bradken, rising 7.37 per cent to close at $2.04. Shares in Southern Cross and Myer also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Monadelphous, dropping 8.42 per cent to close at $10.99. Shares in Spark New Zealand and Western Areas also closed lower. 
 

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,190 an ounce. Light crude is $0.06 higher at $US47.51 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 78.76 US cents. 

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