It ended up being a disappointing session for the local share market, with index opened in negative territory but continued to lose momentum in afternoon trade, closing the day 1.42 per cent lower. Today it was the financials space that was the biggest drag on the market with losses in the big four banks. It was also a sea of red amongst the miners and energy stocks, with BHP and Rio Tinto both shedding around 3.5 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 74 points lower to finish at 5,111.
The value of trades was $4.7 billion on volume of 744 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
, Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS)
and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
On the futures market the SPI is down 68 points.
The Reserve Bank of Australia hasn’t ruled out another interest rate cut, according to the minutes from its March board meeting. The central bank acknowledged continued volatility in global financial markets and noted that the domestic economy had continued to grow at a slightly below-trend pace, but says monetary policy will remain accommodative. Earlier this month the RBA once again decided to keep interest rates on hold at a record low of 2 per cent.
The board of port and rail operator Asciano Limited (ASX:AIO)
has recommended shareholders accept a $9.05 billion takeover bid from Qube and Brookfield Infrastructure after more than nine months of back and forth negotiations. The takeover offer values Asciano at $9.28 per share. Qube and Brookfield will acquire Asciano’s Patrick container terminals business for $2.9 billion. Shares in Asciano closed 1.35 per cent higher at $8.99.
Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Limited (ASX:MGC)
has secured a long-term nutritionals supply agreement with Indonesia’s leading consumer health and infant nutrition company, Kalbe Nutritionals.
Decmil Group Limited (ASX:DCG)
has announced the award of a new $30.6 million contract with BHP Billiton Iron Ore.
Coal of Africa Limited (ASX:CZA)
reported a net loss of $14.3 million in the six months ending December 2015.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Telcos adding 0.1 per cent to close at 1,933. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 3.55 per cent to close at 7,678 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Covermore, rising 3.8 per cent to close at $1.50. Shares in Sigma Pharmaceuticals and ALS also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Whitehaven Coal, dropping 8.05 per cent to close at $0.69. Shares in Beach Energy and Liquefied Natural Gas also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,230 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.25 lower at $US38.84 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7490.