Market Wrap: Aus shares close 2.1% lower

Market Reports

Well it was a sea of red across the screen today for the local share market, with the index following a weak lead from Wall Street and shares continuing to slide throughout the session closing 2.1% lower. Most sectors finished the day in negative territory, but it was the big miners BHP and Rio Tinto that proved to be the biggest drag on the market. BHP experienced its biggest fall since 2008 shedding more than 8 per cent, and Rio Tinto slid almost 6 per cent. Another good day for gold miners though, with the likes of St Barbara and Newcrest making solid gains. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 105 points lower to finish at 4,875. 
 
The value of trades was $5.9 billion on volume of 900 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
 
On the futures market the SPI is down 98 points.
 
Economic news

Aussie wages have continued to grow but at their slowest pace, according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. For the December quarter, wages grew by 0.5 per cent, and by 2.2 per cent for the year, this was just shy of economist’s expectations. Private sector wages grew by 2 per cent for the year, compared to 2.6 per cent in the public sector. 
 
Company news

Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB) has announced that its licensee in Japan. JR Pharmaceuticals Co, has launched its stem cell product TEMCELL at approximately US$7,700 a bag for 72 million cells. Each child or adult with acute graft versus host disease is expected to receive 16 to 24 bags for treatment. On this basis Mesoblast expects a treatment course of TEMCELL in the adult Japanese patient to fetch up to US$185,000. Shares in Mesoblast closed 12.35 per cent higher at $1.82. 
 
Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) has reported a 4 percent fall in net profit to US$319 million for H1 FY16, beating analyst estimates.
 
Asciano Limited (ASX:AIO) has announced a statutory net profit after minority interests of $199.8 million for the half year ended 31 December 2015, a 5.3 percent rise on the previous corresponding period.
 
WorleyParsons Limited (ASX:WOR) has reported a slump in statutory net profit to $23.1 million from $104.3 million in the six months to 31 December 2015, which the company says was impacted by one off non-trading items.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Industrials adding 0.2 per cent to close at 4,893. The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 3.6 per cent to close at 6,896 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mesoblast, rising 12.35 per cent to close at $1.82. Shares in Seven Group and Evolution Mining also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Worley Parsons, dropping 13.06 per cent to close at $3.66. Shares in iSentia and BHP also closed lower. 
 
Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,229 an ounce.
Light crude is $2.02 lower at $US31.37 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7176.