It has been a lack-lustre end to the first trading day of the week for the Australian share market this afternoon. The local bourse showed some signs of life at the start of trade, but moved in and out of the red throughout the session and ended up closing the day 0.1 per cent higher or practically flat. Sectors were mixed today, with losses in Utilities and Materials being counteracted by gains in REITS and Telcos. Financials and Health Care made some small gains, with the big four banks finishing about half a per cent higher.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 8 points higher at 5,873.
The value of trades was $4 billion on volume of 626 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is 8 points up.
Australian PMI is still strong, according to the latest data from The Australian Industry Group. Manufacturing expanded in March to a read of 57.5, albeit at a slower pace to February. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has also released figures with respect to retail trade and building approvals. For the month of February, Australian retail turnover fell 0.1 per cent and dwelling approvals increased 8.3 per cent, seasonally adjusted.
Infigen Energy Limited (ASX:IFN) has launched a fully underwritten $151 million capital raising and has increased its FY17 underlying EBITDA guidance to $147 million. The capital raising will be way of entitlement offer of $0.89 per new security. The EBITDA guidance is 22 per cent higher than FY16 and 5 per cent higher than the previously communicated guidance of $140 million. Funds from the raising will be used to enhance balance sheet flexibility and promote growth. Shares in Infigen Energy last traded at $1.01.
Transburban Group (ASX:TCL) has announced the CPB Contractors John Holland Joint Venture as its preferred builder for the West Gate Tunnel Project.
Healthscope Limited (ASX:HSO) has announced Gordon Ballantyne will replace Robert Cook as the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer effective from 15 May 2017.
Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) has announced the 30% sale of its Manyingee Project has not been completed prior to the drop dead date of 31 March 2017 to satisfy the closing conditions.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was REITs adding 1 per cent to close at 1,393. The worst performing sector was Utilities, losing 0.4 per cent to close at 8,609 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), rising 3.68 per cent to close at $3.10. Shares in Spark NZ (ASX:SPK) and Henderson Group (ASX:HGG) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY), dropping 4.4 per cent to close at $0.43. Shares in Asaleo Care (ASX:AHY) and Worley Parsons (ASX:WOR) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,247 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.51 higher at $US50.85 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7604.