It has been a disappointing end to the session for the Australian share market today, dropping sharply at the open but remaining underwater for the rest of the session before closing 0.71 per cent lower. It was a sea of red across most sectors today but it was the big banks, the mining giants and the energy stocks that were responsible for dragging the market down.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 38 points lower to finish at 5,386.
The value of trades was $6.7 billion on volume of 965 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).
On the futures market the SPI is 38 points down.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported Australia’s trade balance came in at a $2.4 billion deficit for July. This did however beat economists’ expectations who were forecasting a more negative read of $2.7 billion.
Lucapa Diamond Company (ASX:LOM) have announced the recovery of a 38.6 carat pink diamond from alluvial mining operations at the Lulo diamond project in Angola. The diamond is the largest fancy coloured diamond recovered to date at Lulo, surpassing the 28.5 carat light pink diamond included in the most recent Lulo sale parcel. Shares in Lucapa Diamond Company closed flat at $0.35.
Sigma Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX:SIP) has reported that its revenue shot up 28%, in the first half of this year, to $2.15 billion.
Praemium Ltd (ASX:PPS), has entered a deal to acquire Wensley Mackay Ltd, a privately-owned pension provider in the UK.
New Zealand insurance company, Tower Ltd (ASX:TWR) is expecting to increase its claims provisions for the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was REITs adding 1.1 per cent to close at 1,443. The worst performing sector was Staples, losing 1.5 per cent to close at 8,917 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sigma Pharmaceuticals, rising 11.26 per cent to close at $1.28. Shares in Austal and Mirvac also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was St Barbara, dropping 6.49 per cent to close at $2.88. Shares in Independence Group and Saracen Minerals also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,347 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.31 up at $US46.14 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7694.