Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.08% lower

Market Reports

It’s been a lack-lustre finish to the week for the local share market, opening in the red and staying there for the remainder of the session; closing 0.08 per cent lower.  The consumer discretionaries space proved to be the biggest drag on the market today, and gains in the big miners BHP and Rio Tinto wasn’t enough to keep the index’s head above water. 
 
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 4 points down to finish at 4,976. Over the week the index lost 29 points. 
 
The value of trades was $5.2 billion on volume of 863 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Macquarie Group (ASX:MQC) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 16 points lower.

US Markets
 
Looking at Wall Street, US major indexes have dropped over the four trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 0.3 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has lost 1.3 per cent. The NASDAQ has slipped 2.3 per cent. The 100 Index has retreated 2.7 per cent. 

Economic news
 
The Reserve Bank of Australia remains upbeat about the growth of Australia’s economy according to its latest statement of monetary policy. The central bank expects further growth in household incomes, supported by rising employment and low interest rates. However it does acknowledge that China’s outlook poses uncertainty for the local economy.

Company news

Bellamy’s Australia Limited (ASX:BAL) has provided an update to the market prior to the release of its half year results on the 19th of February. For the 6 months to 31 December 2015, revenue is expected to come in at $105 million and EBIT of $19 million. Shares in Bellamy’s Australia closed 14.9 per cent higher at $12.80. 
 
Diploma Group Limited (ASX:DGX) has been awarded a $22 million contract for the construction of the new $17 million Quest Hotel Midland and the $5 million Yanchep Surf Lifesaving Club for the City of Wanneroo in Western Australia. The company says the award of these projects represent the start of its renewed focus on external commercial projects in Western Australia. Shares in Diploma Group last traded at 1.1 cent. 
 
REA Group (ASX:REA) has lifted net profit by around 28 per cent in the first half as well as reporting a 20 per cent increase in revenue to $314.8 million.  
 
Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia (ASX:GMA) reported a 30 per cent drop in profit thanks to the crack down on investor loans and tightened controls on the lending market. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Materials adding 2.8 per cent to close at 6,640. The worst performing sector was Consumer Discretionaries, losing 1.3 per cent to close at 1,881 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Beach Energy, rising 9.88 per cent to close at $0.45. Shares in Alumina and Iluka Resources also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Whitehaven Coal, dropping 7.87 per cent to close at $0.41. Shares in Nine Entertainment and Programmed also closed lower. 
 
Commodities and the dollar

The price of gold is trading at $US1,155 an ounce, and is up $39.02 over the week.
Light crude is $0.56 lower at $US31.72 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying US$0.7187 and is up 1 cent over the week.