Market Wrap: Aus shares close 1.26% lower

Market Reports

At the start of this morning’s session it looked like our local share market could go either way, but after lunch things took a turn for the worse and the index lost all momentum tumbling 1.26 per cent at the close of trade. BHP was the biggest drag on the market today losing more than 3 per cent, along with the big four banks. Energy stocks continued their downward slide following the oil price down through the $30 dollar a barrel mark. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 62 points lower to finish at 4,842. 
 
The value of trades was $5.2 billion on volume of 819 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Westpac BankAing Corporation (ASX:WBC)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 47 points lower.
 
Economic news

Building activity is at an all time high according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. New residential dwelling starts rose by 0.5 per cent bringing the annual increase to 2.0 per cent. But consumer confidence isn’t looking so rosy. Latest data from Westpac and the Melbourne Institute shows global economic uncertainty has impacted on spending, with the index falling by 3.5 per cent in January to 97.3.
 
Company news

Hunter Hall Global Value Limited (ASX:HHV) has announced a fully franked interim dividend for the 2015/16 year of 3 cents per share. This dividend follows the Board’s declaration of an unfranked final ordinary dividend of 4 cents per share and an unfranked special dividend of 4 cents per share paid on the 18th of September 2015.  Shares in Hunter Hall Global Value closed 0.45 per cent lower at $1.10. 
 
MACA Limited (ASX:MLD) has entered into an agreement with the shareholders of Alliance Contracting, a privately owned mining and civil services provider, for the purchase of all of the shares of Alliance. Alliance has a number of contracts in WA including in the Pilbara, Eastern Goldfields and the Mid-West regions. Shares in MACA closed 2.99 per cent higher at $0.69. 
 
BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) has cut its target output by four percent to 237 Mt for the 2016 financial year.
 
Sydney Airport Limited (ASX:SYD) has reported an increase in passenger traffic, totalling 6.7 percent in December 2015 versus a year earlier.
 
Cardno Limited (ASX:CDD) has announced the appointment of Peter Barker as Chief Financial Officer of the company.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Staples adding 0.8 per cent to close at 8,379. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 3.9 per cent to close at 6,702 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Credit Corp, rising 4.31 per cent to close at $9.92. Shares in Altium and Gateway Lifestyle also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Beach Energy, dropping 11.25 per cent to close at $0.35. Shares in Slater and Gordon and Origin also closed lower. 
 
Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,093 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.96 lower at $US29.43 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.6868.