It has been a dismal end to the trading session for the Australian share market, plunging at the open and continuing to be sold off as the day went on, closing 1.18 per cent lower. All sectors except for property finished the day in negative territory, with the Utilities space leading the losses. We also saw selling in the Financials space with losses of close to 2 per cent in all of the big four banks. REITs were the shining light today, with most stocks making some small gains.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 68 points down to finish at 5,687.
The value of trades was $5.5 billion on volume of 750 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 67 points down.
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is 0.6 per cent lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is 0.4 per cent lower.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has released its board minutes for its July meeting, which saw the Aussie dollar shoot to two year highs. The central bank cited the fragmented Australian housing market and unemployment being the main reason for keeping interest rates on hold.
Wellard Limited (ASX:WLD) has released another update on its financial guidance for FY16/17 following a sell-off of the company’s shares this morning. The embattled cattle exporter now says it expects it potential losses before tax to be in the range of $55 million to $65 million for the year. Shares in Wellard closed 25.64 per cent udown at $0.14.
Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has reported record quarterly output for its bauxite operations of 12.9 million tonnes, which is 7 per cent higher than the prior corresponding quarter of 2016.
CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) has confirmed its NPAT guidance of $640 million to $700 million for the full 2017 financial year.
Village Roadshow (ASX:VRL) is expecting to report an attributable net profit after tax (NPAT) before material items and discontinued operations of between $20 million to $23 million for FY17.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was REITs adding 0.4 per cent to close at 1,300. The worst performing sector was Utilities, losing 1.7 per cent to close at 8,385 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Saracen Minerals (ASX:SAR), rising 8.23 per cent to close at $1.25. Shares in Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) and Brambles (ASX:BXB) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Southern Cross Media (ASX:SXL), dropping 3.57 per cent to close at $1.22. Shares in IRESS (ASX:IRE) and Cleanaway Limited (ASX:CWY) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,238 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.57 lower at $US46.18 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7907.