It has been a red finish for the Australian share market today, ahead of the upcoming Federal Budget which will be handed down at 730pm EST this evening. The local bourse dropped at the open and remained underwater for the rest of the session, before closing the day 0.53 per cent lower. The financials space was sold off today, ahead of media speculation that a new tax will be implemented against the big four banks on their balance sheet liabilities. We saw CBA shed more than 3.8 per cent, and Westpac (ASX:WBC) lose 3.5 per cent.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31 points down to finish at 5,840.
The value of trades was $7.2 billion on volume of 913 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB).
On the futures market the SPI is 41 points down.
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is 0.15 per cent lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is 0.2 per cent lower.
According to latest data from the ABS retail turnover fell 0.1 per cent in March 2017, seasonally adjusted. This follows a fall of 0.2 per cent in February 2017. There were falls in food retailing, cafes, restaurants and department stores.
Boral Limited (ASX:BLD) has announced it has completed its acquisition of Headwaters Incorporated, a building products manufacturer and fly ash marketer in North America. Boral says the acquisition represents a transformative step for the company and positions the group to deliver more sustainable growth through market cycles. Shares in Boral closed 0.78 per cent higher at $6.50.
The Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) has released its third-quarter trading update, which was in line with expectations, reporting net profit for the quarter of $2.6 billion.
According to its latest trading update, Ardent Leisure’s (ASX:AAD) theme parks attracted 37.7% less visitors in March and April.
Crown Asia Investments, the subsidiary of James Packer's Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) will repurchase its remaining interest in Melco Resorts.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Telcos adding 2.2 per cent to close at 1,544. The worst performing sector was Financials, losing 2.4 per cent to close at 7,432 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY), rising 10.47 per cent to close at $0.48. Shares in Bellamy’s (ASX:BAL) and Aconex (ASX:ACX) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was JB Hi Fi (ASX:JBH), dropping 4.39 per cent to close at $22.98. Shares in Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) and Westpac (ASX:WBC) also closed lower.
Zenith Energy Limited (ASX:ZEN) started trading today. The power generation solutions company listed with an issue price of $0.50, opened at $0.60 and closed at $0.55.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,226 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.28 higher at $US46.50 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7343.