Slippery Thursday: Aus shares close 0.94% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It has been a sour close for the Australian share market today, with most of the sectors trading in the red after the Fed hinted it would hike rates possibility this year.

Also weighing the market down was a drop in the iron ore price. Just in the first two hours of trade the ASX200 lost 0.8 per cent, but the commodity price fell about 4 per cent and the big miners took a hit. The likes of Foretscue Metals (ASX:FMT) lost 3 per cent.

On the flip side, there was some diamonds in the rough, with G8 Education (ASX:GEM) shares rising over 4.5 per cent after it acquired 19 early education and childcare centres for $27 million.

Energy was however the only sector as a whole that closed in the black.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 54 points lower, or 0.94 per cent lower to finish at 5,655.

The value of trades was $6 billion on volume of 838 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Westpac Bank (ASX:WBC) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP).

On the futures market the SPI is 25 points lower

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.18 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.08 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.03 per cent.

Company news 

Murray Goulburn or Murray Goulburn Co-operative (ASX:MGC) says it received a number of confidential non-binding proposals but the they range from the sale of certain assets, to the whole of company transactions. However, the company say no offer has been made for the units in MG Unit Trust for $1.20 per unit, contrary to what the media say. MG and its financial adviser are engaging with a number of parties to assess these proposals including the valuations. But MG says such transactions may not even eventuate. Shares in Murray Goulburn Co-operative Limited (ASX:MGC) closed 14.19 per cent higher at $0.89.

Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) has announced the sale of the Australian and New Zealand arms of its life insurance business, Comminsure Life and Sovereign, to AIA Group for $3.8 billion.

Following the Federal Court’s judicial review of the proposed merger of Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) and Tatts Group (ASX:TTS), it has remitted the matter back to the Tribunal for further consideration.

Nib Holdings (ASX:NHF) has successfully completed a $60 million fully underwritten institutional placement, all part of buying GU Health from Australian Unity.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Energy adding 0.5 per cent to close at 9,148.
The worst performing sector was Utilities, shedding 2.01 per cent to close at 7,877 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was G8 Education Limited (ASX:XXX), rising 4.51 per cent to close at $3.94. Shares in Tassal Group Limited (ASX:TGR) and Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR), dropping 6.74 per cent to close at $3.51. Shares in Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) also closed lower.

IPO

Mayur Resources Limited (ASX:MRL) started trading today. The PNG mineral explorer and developer floated with an issue price of 40 cents, opened at 40 cents and closed at 42 cents.

Titomic Limited (ASX:TTT) started trading today. The 3D Printing company floated with an issue price of 20 cents, opened at 37.5 cents and closed at 44 cents.

Commodities and the dollar 

Gold is trading at $US1,298 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.83 up at $US50.73 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.67 US cents.