The Australian share market failed to find footing today after negative leads from overseas markets ending 0.52 per cent lower.
Further falls in the price of iron ore weighed on the miners. Meanwhile, manufacturing numbers from China hint that stimulus efforts there may be having some effect after two interest rate cuts and robust US demand.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31 points down to finish at 5,861.
The value of trades was $5.1 billion on volume of 787 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX)
after the Chevron sale settled, along with Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
On the futures market the SPI is 31 points down.
Building approvals have posted their first fall in five months, down 3.2 per cent in February. This follows a jump of 5.9 per cent in February and brings the annual pace of growth up to 14.3 per cent.
UGL Limited (ASX:UGL)
has been advised that the Victorian Government will not proceed with the Cranbourne to Pakenham rail corridor project of UGL was a member. Instead the Labour Government is choosing to expand the current rail infrastructure. Shares in UGL closed 5.5 per cent lower at $1.38.
Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL)
says the completion of its acquisition of road haulage truck and trailer rental business Rento has now been postponed to the end of this month. Shareholders have raised concerns and the Emeco board is in discussions to allay those feats whilst keeping full support for the acquisition. Shares in Emeco Holdings closed 8.33 per cent down at $0.11.
Automotive Holdings Group Limited (ASX:AHE)
is expanding its empire by spending $5 million on two new dealerships, one in Brisbane and one in Perth.
Wide Bay Australia Limited (ASX:WBB)
has officially changed its name to Auswide Bank effective immediately, the stock code will change next week.
Lend Lease (ASX:LLC)
has joined with a global investment partner to purchase a large urban regeneration site in Singapore.
And Peninsula Energy Limited (ASX:PEN)
says that its uranium projects in the US state of Wyoming are on schedule for first production later this year.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was telco services adding 0.4 per cent to close at 2,237. The worst performing sector was materials, losing 1.9 per cent to close at 9,053 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bradken, rising 5.15 per cent to close at $1.94. Shares in Ansell and MMA Offshore also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Southern Cross Media, dropping 7.83 per cent to close at $1.06. Shares in Western Areas and Sirius Resources also closed lower.
Aeeris Limited (ASX:AER)
started trading today. The data company listed with an issue price of $0.25, opened at $0.25 and a closed at $0.23.
Gold is trading at $US1,187 an ounce. Light crude is $1.08 down at $US47.60 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 76.39 US cents.