It has been another disappointing end to the trading session for the Australian share market shedding around 0.57 per cent at the close, much the same as the Dow Jones and the S&P 500. The biggest weight on the index today was the utilities space, but we also saw losses in the materials space, in particular the gold stocks which were sold off after the price of gold dropped below the US$1300 level.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31 points down to finish at 5,453.
The value of trades was $5.1 billion on volume of 826 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).
On the futures market the SPI is 39 points down.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported a jump in retail sales in August by 0.4 per cent to $25.13 billion. This beat market expectations of a rise of 0.2 per cent. The main reason for the increase has been attributed to a surge in department store sales for the month.
Estia Health Limited (ASX:EHE) has placed its shares into a trading halt for two days pending the release of an announcement relating to its fourth quarter results. The aged care operator stated back in August that it expected EBITDA for FY17to be at least 13% higher than the previous year. Shares will remain halted until Friday or when the announcement is released to the market. Shares in Estia Health last traded at $3.30.
Infrastructure investment company, Infratil Ltd (ASX:IFT), together with the NZ Superannuation Fund, will team up to invest in an American renewable energy company.
The federal government is set to announce an overhaul of the vocational student loans scheme, and job-hunting website, SEEK Ltd (ASX:SEK) could be affected.
8I Holdings Ltd (ASX:8IH), a Singaporean investments and training seminar business, has purchased all the management shares of the Hidden Champions Fund, an Asia-Pacific investment fund.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Financials adding 0.25 per cent to close at 6,013. The worst performing sector was REITs, losing 2.4 per cent to close at 1,388 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was QBE Insurance, rising 3.4 per cent to close at $9.74. Shares in Mantra Group and Computershare also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Syrah Resources, dropping 22.81 per cent to close at $3.35. Shares in Northern Star and Saracen Minerals also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,275 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.38 higher at $US49.19 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7631.