It has been a disappointing end to the session for the Australian share market after the Wall Street santa rally eased off overnight. The local bourse opened in the red and managed to resurface into the black around lunch time, but lost momentum towards the end of the session and ended up closing the day 0.32 per cent lower. The best performer this session was the Healthcare sector with modest gains in the likes of Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB) and CSL Limited (ASX:CSL). Not such a good day for the materials or financials sectors with selling off across the board.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 18 points down to finish at 5,545.
The value of trades was $5.4 billion on volume of 778 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 Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is 30 points down.
House prices have slowed in September, as apartment values in Brisbane and Melbourne stagnate. According to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, quarter on quarter dwelling values declined to 1.5 per cent, from 2 per cent in the previous quarter.
Dexus Property Group (ASX:DXS) has announced an increase in property valuations for HY17. The Dexus portfolio valuation has shown a $341 million or 3.2 per cent increase on prior book values for the six months to 31 December 2016. The company says with property valuations continuing to improve in Sydney and Melbourne, it expects to also see an improvement in portfolio value over the coming 12 months. Shares in Dexus Property Group (ASX:DXS) closed 1.2 per cent up at $9.29.
Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) has sued another lithium exploration company Lepidico Ltd (ASX:LPD) in the Supreme Court of Western Australia.
Freelancing and crowdsourcing website, Freelancer Ltd (ASX:FLN), has acquired two of its competitors - Nubelo and Prolancer.
Financial services company, Pioneer Credit Ltd (ASX:PNC) has made an overseas transaction which will extend its business beyond Australia.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Healthcare adding 1.25 per cent to close at 19,092. The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 1.47 per cent to close at 9,768 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was CSL Limited (ASX:CSL), rising 3.18 per cent to close at $95.03. Shares in Greencross Limited (ASX:GXL) and Aconex (ASX:ACX) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY), dropping 6.12 per cent to close at $0.46. Shares in Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) and Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) also closed lower.
Litigation Capital Management Limited (ASX:LCA) started trading today. The litigation funding company listed at $0.70, opened at $0.795 and closed at $0.68.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,163 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.97 up at $US53.41 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US74.95.