It has been a disappointing end to the trading session for the Australian share market today, which was characterised by low volumes; which comes as no surprise given the Melbourne Cup this afternoon. After opening in the red, the local bourse lost momentum throughout the session and ended up closing the day 0.51 per cent lower. The energy space was the biggest casualty, followed by losses in materials and the big banks.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 27 points down to finish at 5,291.
The value of trades was $3.6 billion on volume of 532 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).
On the futures market the SPI is 30 points down.
It came as no surprise that the Reserve Bank of Australia once again kept interest rates on hold at a record low of 1.5 per cent. The central bank cited continued weakness in inflation and volatility in financial markets as reasons for keeping the cash rate unchanged.
Tassal Group (ASX:TGR) has responded to a Four Corners program that went to air last night concerning the transparency of the salmon industry in Tasmania. The company says its disappointing the ABC made a generalization about the sustainability of the whole of Macquarie Harbour, and reiterated its commitment to continually improving its farming practices and protecting Tasmania’s marine environment. Shares in Tassal Group closed 2.34 per cent down at $3.76.
Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) has completed its acquisition of an $880 million stake in the Ernest Henry copper and gold mine.
Prime Media Group (ASX:PRT) says advertising revenue for the regions of northern and southern NSW, and Victoria have improved by 16% in the first quarter of this financial year.
Intermin Resources Ltd (ASX:IRC) has acquired a number of new gold projects as well as exploration tenure in the Kalgoorlie and Boulder regions of WA.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Utilities adding 0.13 per cent to close at 7,114. The worst performing sector was Telcos, losing 1.35 per cent to close at 1,757 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nine Entertainment, rising 4.07 per cent to close at $0.90. Shares in Regis Healthcare and Iron Mountain were higher.
The worst performing stock was Orocobre, dropping 9.92 per cent to close at $3.45. Shares in Seven West Media and Syrah Resources also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,278 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.94 lower at $US46.76 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7653.