Market Wrap: Aus shares close lower

Market Reports

Despite rising earlier in the session, Aussie stocks have been unable to hold onto gains closing lower today dragged down by mining stocks on weaker metals prices. However, on the week the market still managed to finish higher as concern’s for the global economy eased.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 22 points to finish at 4,560 and is up 19 points on the week. And on the futures market, the SPI200 is down 17 points.

Looking to the US and on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial index is 33 points weaker for the three trading days this week. The S&P500 Index is down under a point, the NASDAQ is up 2 points and the 100 index is up 16.

In news around this afternoon: Reuters is reporting that Foster’s Group’s Ltd (ASX:FGL) wine division has gained the attention of private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and TPG. A unnamed industry source has told Reuters that while no bids are in the making yet, the wine business has peaked their interest. This week Foster’s rejected a $2.5 billion private offer for its wine division, saying it undervalued the business. Reports also circulated that Coca Cola Amatil Ltd (ASX:CCL) may enter the bidding race, rumours managing director Terry Davis quickly denied. Shares in Foster’s Group closed 1.57% weaker at $6.25.

Allied Gold Ltd (ASX:ALD) has boosted its gold reserves at its Simberi gold project by 155%. The miner says it now expects to have reserves of around 2.15 million ounces of gold at the project in Papua New Guinea. Allied says exploration drilling over the last 18 months has identified substantial increases in both oxide and sulphide ore types. The company says its overall reserves have risen to 3.43 million ounces. Shares in Allied Gold closed 4.17% lower at $0.46.

Also making news: Shares in Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd (ASX:GGG) rallied today after the Government of Greenland amended terms for exploration licenses allowing it to develop its flagship Kvanefjeld project.

Sources have told Reuters reporters That AMP Ltd (ASX:AMP) is likely to bide its time and wait till NAB Ltd (ASX:NAB) is out of the bidding war before making another attempt at taking over AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd (ASX:AXA).

Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX:VBA) has received another blow following news today that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided to block a proposed alliance between the airline and Air New Zealand. Just yesterday the US Transportation Department said it would block Virgin Blue’s tie-up with Delta Air Lines.

And Lend Lease Group (ASX:LLC) has struck a deal with one of Japan’s largest home builders, Sekisui House for a number of its master planned community projects and apartment developments in Australia.

In the best and worst performers: Majority of sectors closed in the red today, the only sector to close in the black was the Industrials sector with the index up a point at 3,643. The worst performing sector was the Health Care with the index down 114 points at 8,185.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ ASX200 was Murchison Metals shares were 14.85% up at $1.74. Shares in Macquarie Atlas Roads and Lend Lease Group also closed higher. The worst performing stock was Sundance Resources with shares closing 9.09% lower at $0.20. Shares in Avoca Resources and Virgin Blue Holdings closed weaker today.

The Australian Dollar is trading at 92.29 US cents, up under a cent on the week.

In commodities, gold is trading at $1246 US an ounce and is up $0.95 on the week. And light crude is up $0.76 at $75.01 US a barrel.