Market mood shifts: Aus shares close 0.48% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Ellerm

It has been a negative day of trade for the Australian share market. After opening in the red the local bourse continued to dive, tracking sideways for most of the afternoon. However better than expected retail figures released today by the ABS did drive some buying in consumer discretionary stocks. The Australian dollar also firmed on the news, and is now hovering around 78.74 US cents.

As for the sectors, it was red across the board today, with no one escaping the change of mood.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index was 29 points down, or 0.48 per cent lower to finish at 6,068.

The value of trades was $5.3 billion on volume of 687 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 Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO).

On the futures market the SPI is 26 points lower.

Economic news

The ABS has reported retail sales increased 1.2 per cent in November following a 0.5 per cent rise in October. The release of iPhone X and Black Friday sales lifted the retail sector.

Company news

Centuria Capital Group (ASX:CNI) has announced that its subsidiary, Centuria Property Funds Limited, has unconditionally exchanged contracts to acquire the Transport Accident Commission headquarters in Geelong. The property group paid $115.25 million for the building, and post settlement will bring assets under management for Centuria to $4.5 billion. The building is 100 per cent occupied with 94 per cent of its income underpinned by a long-term lease the Transport Accident Commission. Shares in Centuria Capital Group (ASX:CNI) closed 0.35 per cent lower at $1.41.

People Infrastructure Limited (ASX:PPE) has announced it has acquired a 50 per cent stake in a leading IT recruitment and consulting business. The workforce management business has acquired its stake in Recon Solutions and Recon Technology for $2.8 million, comprised of an upfront payment of $2.3 million in cash and $0.5 million in ordinary shares. Shares in People Infrastructure Limited (ASX:PPE) closed 0.38 per cent higher at $1.30.

Auswide Bank (ASX:ABA) has entered into an agreement to divest its equity stake in P2P lender MoneyPlace.

Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has been offered US$500 million to sell its aluminium smelter in northern France to UK metals company Liberty House.

Aerial imagery company Nearmap (ASX:NEA) has reported growth in both its US and Australian markets in the first half of the 2018 financial year.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Consumer Discretionary losing only 0.12 per cent to close at 2,313.

The worst performing sector was Health Care, shedding 0.93 per cent to close at 24,337.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was JB HiFi Limited (ASX:JBH), rising 4.44 per cent to close at $28.00. Shares in Super Retail Group Limited (ASX:SUL) and Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX:FLT) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY), dropping 10.76 per cent to close at $3.98. Shares in Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS) and Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL) also closed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has fallen 0.15 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,317 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.48 up at $US63.35 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.74 US cents.


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