Market retreats after three-session high: Aus shares close 0.15% lower

Market Reports

by Clive Tompkins

Today’s session saw shares in negative territory, with the market falling well below 6000 points, a turn after last week’s nine-and-a-half-year highs, where we saw the market hitting above 6000 points for the first time since the GFC.

Mining and energy stocks fell between 2-3% after a drop in the iron ore price. Fortescue (ASX:FMG), BHP (ASX:BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), Monadelphous (ASX:MND) and Woodside (ASX:WPL) all fell as expected. In the energy sector, a drop in the oil price had a similar effect with WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) falling more than 4% and Santos (ASX:STO) down over 2%.

Health Care, Info Tech and Discretionaries led the markets today, while all other sectors fell. Project management software company Aconex (ASX:ACX) saw a positive rise. Dulux (ASX:DLX) was also in the green after announcing positive first half year results, and Qantas (ASX:QAN) picked up today.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 35 points down, or 0.58% lower, to finish at 5,934.

The value of trades was $6.4 billion on volume of 859 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Woodside, BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP)) and Westpac.

On the futures market, the SPI is 26 points lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 1.45%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.8% and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.8%.

Economic news

The wage price index rose only 0.5% for the September quarter, with a marginal annual increase of 2% -- below market expectations, which was eying a 0.7% quarterly increase.

Consumer confidence has dipped this month by 1.7% to 99.7 just before the Christmas spending season hits, after a rise of 3.6% last month.

Company news

Clean Seas Seafood (ASX:CSS) has successfully completed a $17.6 million capital raise. The funds raised will support ongoing growth in the Yellowtail Kingfish biomass and investment in farming and processing facilities. Existing shareholders will receive 144.3 million shares at 6 cents a share. Shares in Clean Seas Seafood (ASX:CSS) closed 1.16% lower at 6.1c

Dulux Group (ASX:DLX) has reported net profit after tax (NPAT) growth of 9.6% to $142.9 million for the 2017 financial year to September.

Pact Group (ASX:PGH) has announced the acquisition of two Asian enterprises and Western Australian supply store ECP Industries, to be funded through a fully underwritten entitlement offer of $176 million.

E-health company G Medical (ASX:GMV) has raised $13.5 million through a heavily oversubscribed institutional and sophisticated investor placement.

IPOs

IXUP (ASX:IXU) started trading today. The software company floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.37 and closed at $0.44.

Telex Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) started trading today. The pharmaceuticals company floated with an issue price of $0.65, opened at $0.81 and closed at $0.77.

Lustrum Minerals (ASX:LRM) started trading today. The junior exploration company floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.21 and closed at $0.22

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Consumer Discretionary, adding 0.20% to close at 2,274.

The worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Energy, shedding 1.70% to close at 9,861 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Dulux Group (ASX:DLX), rising 6.10% to close at $8.00. Shares in Aconex (ASX:ACX) and St Barbrara (ASX:SBM) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Australian Agricultural Company (ASX:AAC), dropping 7.4% to close at $1.44. Shares in Monadeplhous Group (ASX:MND) and Washington H Soul Pattison & Co (ASX:SOL) also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,281 an ounce.

Light crude is $1.81 down at $US55.16 barrel.

One Australian dollar is buying 75.86 US cents.