It has been a disappointing end to what has been a negative trading week for the Australian share market, with the local bourse pulling further away from that key 6000 level. The ASX200 dropped at the open and ran out of puff towards the end of the session, closing the day 0.68 per cent lower. The Energy space was the biggest drag on the market this session, followed by losses in the materials space. We also saw some further selling in the big four banks, except for Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) which jumped around 3.5 per cent. Telcos were the shining light, especially Telstra which surged higher by around 4 per cent.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 40 points down to finish at 5,837, over the week the index lost 88 points.
The value of trades was $6.3 billion on volume of 920 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB).
On the futures market the SPI is 50 points down.
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is closed, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 1per cent and Shanghai Composite is down 0.9 per cent.
US major indexes have risen over the four trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 0.05 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has added 0.2 per cent. The NASDAQ has added 0.5 per cent. The 100 Index has added 0.8 per cent.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has released its Statement of Monetary Policy, following Tuesday’s decision to once again keep interest rates on hold at a record low of 1.5 per cent. The RBA says inflation will gradually increase over the next year or two, but low wage growth is continuing to hold inflation down.
Tassal Group Limited (ASX:TGR) says a decision by the Tasmanian Environmental Protection Authority in relation to Macquarie Harbour, will enable it to grow its 2016 salmon to a harvestable size, while deploying waste management technology. In addition the Macquarie Harbour decision allows Tassal to meet its production targets as the harbour recovers. Tassal Group says despite environmental challenges, it does believe the harbour can be sustainable. Shares in Tassal Group closed 1.97 per cent down at $4.47.
Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) has reported its net profit after tax, attributable to shareholders rose 7.5% to $2.2 billion for the 12 months to 31 March 2017.
Qantas says its Underlying Profit Before Tax should range between $1.35 billion and $1.40 billion for the full 2017 year.
Boral Limited (ASX:BLD) has announced it will complete the purchase of Headwaters Incorporated in two days, for an aggregate enterprise value of US$2.6 billion.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Telcos adding 3.5 per cent to close at 1,524. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 2.3 per cent to close at 9,168 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was ISentia (ASX:ISD) rising 4.82 per cent to close at $1.74. Shares in Telstra (ASX:TLS) and Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Bluescope Steel (ASX:BSL), dropping 6.93 per cent to close at $11.02. Shares in Super Retail (ASX:SUL) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) also closed lower.
Oceana Healthcare Limited (ASX:OCA) started trading today. The aged care services provider floated with an issue price of $0.73, opened at $0.74 and is closed at $0.74.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,234 an ounce.
Light crude is $2.12 lower at $US45.49 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7383.