Market Wrap: Aus shares close weaker

Market Reports

Aussie stocks closed well and truly in the red today despite gains earlier in the session, weighed down by tax loss selling before the end of the financial year and caution ahead of US payroll data due out later in the week.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 39 points to finish at 4,346. And on the futures market, the SPI200’s down 40 points.

To company news around this afternoon: Pacific Rim gold producer OceanaGold Corp (ASX:OGC) has increased its exploration budget by US$4.4 million in order to explore the potential of an underground mining operation at its Reefton goldfields. The company says recent drilling suggests a continuation of economic mineralization below its Globe Progress pit. The exploration program will look at exploiting this potential using underground methods and likely expansions of the current open pit. OceanaGold says it will also undertake a review of the Sam’s Creek deposit to determine the best strategic option moving forward. The Sam’s Creek deposit contains an inferred resource of 770,000 ounces of gold. Shares in OceanaGold closed 2.19% weaker at $3.58.

Chemical manufacturer Campbell Brothers Ltd (ASX:CPB) says it expects to report a record underlying net profit in the range of $63 to $68 million for the half year ending 30 September. This compares to a net profit of $38 million for the half year to September 2009 and is also ahead of the record result of $57 million achieved in the half year to September 2008, prior to the GFC. The company says the result reflects current strong trading conditions for most of its operations, as well as a solid contribution from Ecowise and PearlStreet, acquired in the second half of the last year. Shares in Campbell Brothers closed 4.81% higher at $30.71.

Also making news: According to reports US paint maker Valspar Corp says no Australian jobs will be lost if they are successful in their $142 million takeover bid for Aussie paint-maker Wattyl Ltd (ASX:WYL).

Allied Gold Ltd (ASX:ALD) has secured a US$35 million loan with World Bank Corp to underpin the $150 million redevelopment of its 120,000 ounce per annum Gold Ridge mine in the Solomon Islands.

Engineering and infrastructure company Downer EDI Ltd (ASX:DOW) says it has ample liquidity despite media reports that claimed the company withheld payments to suppliers in order to reach cash flow targets in its yearly accounts.

And gaming machine operator Tatts Group Ltd (ASX:TTS) has reduced the book carrying value of its investment in Talarius by $140 million.

In the best and worst performers: Majority of sectors closed in the red today, however the only sector at close in the black was the Real Estate Investment Trust index, up 9 points at 860. The sector with the biggest loss was the Utilities index, down 65 points at 4,010.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ ASX200 was Gunns, shares rose 7.89% to $0.615. Shares in Emeco Holdings and Nufarm also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Gindalbie Metals, shares fell 10.17% to close at $1.06. Shares in Kingsgate Consolidated and Infigen Energy also closed weaker today.

In commodities, gold is trading at $1,239 U.S an ounce, and light crude is down $0.86 at $77.39 U.S a barrel.