The Australian share market was struggling for direction today. It opened flat, dipped into negative territory several times and essentially traded within a narrow range. In the end, the local bourse finished flat, or just 0.06% higher.
Broad-based buying in the big four banks was able to keep the market afloat, with three of the big four banks being the top valued stocks today.
The price of gold was higher today, which also led to gains in miners, Newcrest Mining and Evolution Mining.
At the close of trade, the S&P/ASX 200 index finished 3 points higher at 5,736 points.
The value of trades was $3.8 billion on volume of 569 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ Bank (ASX:ANZ), Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) and Westpac Bank (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is 9 points lower.
BC Iron Ltd (ASX:BCI) says it has secured all approvals for below water table mining at the Iron Valley Mine in Western Australia. The company says it will update its FY17 EBITDA guidance for Iron Valley (which is currently between $6 million and $16 million) – this will happen after the company finalises its December 2016 quarter production and financial results. Shares in BC Iron are down 2.94% to 17 cents.
SmartTrans Holdings Ltd (ASX:SMA) has executed a formal agreement with a Shanghai-listed digital marketing company to operate an e-commerce marketplace to sell premium Australian goods in China.
Elk Petroleum Ltd (ASX:ELK) has entered a contract to acquire a 14% non-operating working interest in the Madden Gas Field and Lost Cabin Gas Plant in Wyoming, USA, for US$20 million.
Redflex Holdings Ltd (ASX:RDF) has received a notice of termination. This notice brings to an end the contract under which the company was providing traffic violation processing services in Saudi Arabia.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Financials excluding REITS adding 0.66 per cent to 7,449. The worst performing sector was REITs, losing 1.31 per cent to 1,389 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Asaleo Care (ASX:AHY), rising 3.63 per cent to close at $1.57. Shares in Blackmores (ASX:BKL) and Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) also finished higher.
The worst performing stock was Ardent Leisure (ASX:AAD), dropping 4.27 per cent to close at $2.24. Shares in Nextdc (ASX:NXT) and Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,161 an ounce.
Light crude is trading $1.25 lower at $US52.47 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7238.