Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.94 % lower

Market Reports

The local share market has extended on its losses throughout the session, after plunging below the 5000 point mark at the open. A recovery in BHP mid-way through the session seemed to light a small spark under investors, but still the market closed 0.94 per cent lower. The real winners today were the gold stocks, with their “safe haven” status luring buyers following Friday’s terror attacks in Paris. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 48 points lower to finish at 5,004. 
 
The value of trades was $4.2 billion on volume of 665 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 36 points lower.

Economic news

Latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has shown that new car sales for the 12 months to October have reached their highest level since 1994.  In the past year more than a million new cars were sold, that’s despite a 3.6 per cent drop in new vehicle sales for the month of October alone. 
 
Company news

Asciano Limited (ASX:AIO) has announced it has decided to grant the Qube Consortium access to due diligence, subject to the appropriate confidentiality agreements. This is in response to a non-binding indicative proposal by the Qube consortium to acquire all of the shares in Asciano, at an implied value of $9.25 per Asiano share. Shares in Asiano closed the day 1.69 per cent lower at $8.75. 
 
Macquarie Atlas Roads (ASX:MQA) is selling the lease rights to the Chicago Skyway in Illinois for $2.8 billion. 
 
Merger talks between Tabcorp Holdings Limited (ASX:TAH) and Tatts Group Limited (ASX:TTS) have come to a halt after the two companies could not agree on a deal. 
 
MACA Limited (ASX:MLD) says its received a Letter of Intent from Doray Minerals to award MACA the open pit mining contract at its Deflector project. 
 
Fonterra Shareholders Fund (ASX:FSF) has lifted its forecast earnings per share range to between 45-55 cents. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Energy adding 1.6 per cent to close at 8,220. The worst performing sector was REITs, losing 1.5 per cent to close at 1,219 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Liquefied Natural Gas, rising 14.56 per cent to close at $1.50. Shares in Slater and Gordon and Santos also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Mesoblast, dropping 38.42 per cent to close at $2.10. Shares in Paladin and Mineral Resources also closed lower. 
 
Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,094 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.04 lower at $US41.99 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying 71.13 US cents.