It has been a muted end to the Tuesday trading session for the Australian share market, with the local bourse closing the day just underwater, losing 0.1 per cent. While sectors were mixed, Utilities fared the worst, along with Health Care and Consumer Staples. The Materials space was the best performer along with Financials following gains in three out of the big four banks.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 6 points down to finish at 5,714.
The value of trades was $5 billion on volume of 738 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is 9 points down.
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is 0.33 per cent higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is 0.15 per cent lower and the Shanghai Composite is 0.14 per cent lower.
The Australian population has reached around 23.4 million people according to the 2016 Census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. There are more women in the country than men and more and more people are giving up on religion. Australians are also living longer, with one in six people over the age of 65.
Tower Limited (ASX:TWR) has entered into a Scheme Implementation Agreement with Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN) via its wholly owned subsidiary, Vero Insurance New Zealand. Vero will acquire 100 per cent of Tower’s shares at $1.40 per share. This represents a 77.2 per cent premium to Tower’s closing price on the the 8th of February. Shares in Tower Limited closed 18.14 per cent up at $1.27.
Blackmores (ASX:BKL) has announced its MD and CEO, Christine Holgate will retire after 9 years with the company, and become the new CEO of Australia Post.
Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) has announced three innovation projects for FY18 aimed at improving safety, productivity and efficiency.
REA Group (ASX:REA) has entered an agreement to acquire a majority stake in mortgage broking franchise, Smartline.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Materials adding 0.34 per cent to close at 9,589. The worst performing sector was Utilities, losing 1.46 per cent to close at 8,861 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was ALS Limited (ASX:ALS), rising 8.61 per cent to close at $7.82. Shares in Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Blackmores (ASX:BKL), dropping 4.41 per cent to close at $89.81. Shares in Metcash (ASX:MTS) and Myer Holdings (ASX:MYR) also closed lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,247 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.48 higher at $US43.49 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7598.