Financials fall, Discretionary gains: Aus shares close 0.5% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It has been a sour day of trade for the Aussie share market which lost 0.5 per cent with the most selling in financials and miners.

Wall Street was closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day so there were no leads to follow today but normal US trading will commence this evening (Sydney time).

The Australian dollar also gained against the greenback’s weakness which added to some local selling.

But there was a light at a sector level in the Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, and information technology. Betting giant Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) rose over 2 per cent while infant formulate business Bellamy’s Australia shone the brightest rising 24 per cent. A2 Milk (ASX:A2M) also shone along with Blackmores (ASX:BKL).

The big four banks closed lower, with NAB (ASX:NAB) falling the least. Investment management company, Netwealth (ASX:NWL) gained about 0.6 per cent and so too did trustee solution company, EQT Holdings (ASX:EQT).

Energy stocks again trading lower amid profit taking with Woodside (ASX:WPL) down about 2 per cent along with Santos (ASX:STO).

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.5 per cent or 29 pts lower to 6,049.

The value of trades was $4.2 billion on volume of 588 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO).

On the futures market the SPI is 20 points down.

Company news 

BT Investment Management (ASX:BTT) has claimed one of the top performing seats today after it announced its funds under management grew $2.3 billion in the quarter ending 31 December 2017 taking its FUM total to $98.1 billion. Its shares finished 3.2 per cent higher today at $11.57.

Lithium production company based in Argentina, Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY) advised its flagship project’s initial stage two evaporation ponds are now filled with lithium brine. This means they are fully operational and solar evaporation and lithium concentration is ready for the summer peak season. As a result the company says it’s now planned pumping tests for production wells one and two. Its shares closed 5.3 per cent lower at $0.45.

Bellamy’s (ASX:BAL) shares closed higher after it upgraded its revenue and profit guidance for FY2018 and advised it’s in an agreement to buy the remaining 10 per cent in Camperdown Powder after it snapped up 90 per cent of the business for $28.5 million..

Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed about 0.7 per cent lower after it reported fourth quarter results, in line with guidance across all major products with shipped iron ore from the Pilbara region, rising 3 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.

And lithium producer Orocobre (ASX:ORE) saw an 84 per cent rise in quarterly production to December compared to the September quarter, and a 67 per cent increase in sales, driving revenue over 70 per cent higher to US$40 million.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Discretionary adding 0.7 per cent to close at 2,322. 
The worst performing sector was Telcos, shedding 1.6 per cent to close at 1,314 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was The A2 Milk Company Limited (ASX:A2M), rising 6.5 per cent to close at $7.42. Shares in Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL) and Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings (ASX:NEC) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG), dropping 4.3 per cent to close at $2.25. Shares in Speedcast International Limited (ASX:SDA) and Nanosonics Limited (ASX:NAN) also closed lower. 

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 1.3 per cent.

To commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,341 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.52 up at $US64.75 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.69 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 4 per cent in the last 24 hours to $13,226
Ethereum shed about 8 per cent to $1,243
And Tether has dropped about 1 per cent to $1.01