Red territory: Aus shares close 0.26% lower

Market Reports

by Carolyn Herbert

It has been a negative start to the trading week for the Australian share market, dropping at the open and struggling for direction for the rest of the session before closing 0.26 per cent lower. The energy space was the biggest casualty this session, following reports of rising US production levels. We also saw losses in the materials space, and consumer staples with Wesfarmers (ASX:WES), Woolworths (ASX:WOW) and Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX:CCL) all finishing the day in negative territory.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 15 points down to finish at 5,724.

The value of trades was $5.6 billion on volume of 766 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 Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO).

On the futures market the SPI is 25 points down.

Company news

Southern Cross Media Group Limited (ASX:SXL) has confirmed that it has expressed interest in potentially acquiring the New Zealand radio assets of NZME Limited. SCA says its interest in these assets is contingent with its strategy to invest in new growth opportunities and leverage its expertise in audio and entertainment. NZME however has declined to enter into any discussions with SCA, due to current merger agreements with Fairfax. Shares in Southern Cross Media closed 1.5 per cent lower at $1.31.

Slater and Gordon Limited (ASX:SGH) has reported a $425.1 million net loss for the first half of 2017.

Japara Healthcare Limited (ASX:JHC) has reported a 14.5 per cent jump in revenue to $177.1 million for the first half of 2017.

Yowie Group Limited (ASX:YOW) has announced a net loss for the half year ended 31 December of US$3.77 million.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Consumer Discretionaries adding 1.3 per cent to close at 2,094. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 1.9 per cent to close at 8,824 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nanosonics (ASX:NAN), rising 9.02 per cent to close at $2.78. Shares in Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) and NextDC (ASX:NXT) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), dropping 6.69 per cent to close at $5.72. Shares in Japara Healthcare (ASX:JHC) and Regis Healthcare (ASX:REG) also closed lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,257 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.43 lower at $US54.02 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7693.


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