Despite rallying at the open, the local bourse closed just below the line today. However, the Aussie dollar continues to climb, which was supported by positive ABS employment news and US sentiment.
As for the sectors, materials and energy lead the charge, with the likes of Caltex (ASX:CTX) jumping 3.7 per cent in response to ACCC news on BP and Woolworths. Dragging the market down was Utilities, Telcos and Reits, with the likes of AGL continuing to slide with a 2.3% drop.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index 0.17 per cent lower to finish at 6, 011.
The value of trades was $6.5 billion on volume of 863 million shares. The top three stocks by value were Westfield (ASX:WFD) Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) and BHP (ASX:BHP).
On the futures market the SPI is 11 points down.
Local economic news
The trend unemployment rate remained at 5.4 per cent in November 2017, on par with market expectations. The ABS also reporting trend employment grew by 22,000, beating expectations of 19, 200.
Westpac (ASX:WBC) has begun their $11m refund for owner occupier customers. The Big 4 bank announced the mortgage process error in it’s FY17 financial result and has notified ASIC of their response. Affected loans with an interest period expiring between 2009 and 2016 are under review. The remediation program will also be assessed by accounting firm Deloitte. Shares in Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 0.35 per cent hight $31.55
LiveTiles (ASX:LVT) has joined forces with tech giant Microsoft to pursue the US Artificial Intelligence (AI) market. Together, the software company, which empowers intelligent workplace experiences, is already in joint discussions with several Fortune 500 companies. The joint campaign marks the first step Microsoft customers will take into the AI world. Shares in (ASX:LVT) closed 41.30% higher at $0.33.
Caltex Australia (ASX:CTX) shares have soared after the ACCC vetoed BP from buying Woolworths (ASX:WOW) fuels. Caltex will continue to provide fuel to Woolworths and its customers in accordance with its wholesale agreements.
Tatts (ASX:TTS) shares stopped trading on the ASX today, after the Supreme Court approved the $11.3 billion merger with Tabcorp (ASX:TAH). New Tabcorp shares started trading on a deferred settlement basis today, and also went ex div paying, a fully franked special dividend of 16 cents per Tatts share.
Propertylink (ASX:PLG) has acquired a Lane Cove modern business park for $48 million. The Sydney North Shore business park was purchased on a capitalisation rate of 7.11%. The company is also looking to adjoin the 7, 922m2 vacant land for $8.6m.
Engage:BDR Limited (ASX:EN1) a digital advertising started company, floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.30 and closed at $0.25.
Carawine Resources Limited (ASX:CWX), a gold, copper and base metal deposits company, floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.20 and closed at $0.20.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Energy adding 0.41 per cent to close at 10, 556
The worst performing sector was Utilities, shedding 1.72 per cent to close at 8, 470 points.
The best performing stock was Independence Group NL (ASX:IGO), rising 6.47 per cent to close at $4.28. Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) and Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock, for the second day in a row was Myer (ASX:MYR), dropping 9.66 per cent to close at $0.66. Shares in Metcash (ASX:MTS) and Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) also closed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.48 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.26 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has down 0.39 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,258 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.50 lower at $US56.66 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.63 US cents.
Bitcoin has fallen 2.16 per cent in the last 24 hours to $16,495
Ethereum has gained about 19.30 per cent to $746
And Litecoin is up about 0.08 per cent to $307