Back below 6,000: Aus shares close 0.23% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market has continued its slide from last week and fell below the 6,000 milestone today for the first time since mid December and we finished with a loss of 0.2 per cent.

We had positive leads from Wall Street, and lift in the iron ore price at the open. But the ASX200 entered selling territory with financials falling the most with CBA (ASX:CBA) slipping over 1.2 per cent.

Also taking its toll today was two CEO’s announcing their resignations, one for Domain Holdings (ASX:DHG) and the other from McGrath (ASX:MEA) which left both the companies shares with double digit losses of over 16 per cent and 11 per cent respectively (after settlement their shares lost 17 per cent and 12 per cent respectively). 

Meantime, Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) shares were a star shiner all day, holding at one-year highs.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.23 per cent lower or 14 points down to 5,992.

The value of trades was $4 billion on volume of 591 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 National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB).

On the futures market the SPI is 8 points lower.

Company news 

Auswide Bank (ASX:ABA) completed the sale of its equity stake in P2P lender, MoneyPlace, which will add $1.1 million to its net profit after tax. Meantime it also advised Its statutory group half-year net profit after tax (NPAT) is expected to rise 10 per cent on the prior year to $8 million. Auswide Banks shares closed 0.8 per cent higher at $5.25.

Medical cannabis company, AusCann (ASX:AC8) entered into an agreement with Australia’s leading wholesale pharmaceutical company, Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API). The agreement will see API distribute AusCann’s cannabinoid medicines throughout Australia, through its national pharmacy network. Shares in AuscCann (ASX:AC8) closed 1.6 per cent higher at $1.63.

Online retailer, Kogan.com (ASX:KGN) reported net operating cash flows of $4.2 million for the quarter 31 December 2017, with cash of $28.2 million.

Domain Holdings (ASX:DHG) shares slumped to an all-time low after Antony Catalano resigned as CEO after being in the role for four years. Domain announced it is expecting to report a 22 per cent gain on its digital revenue growth and total revenue growth of 13 per cent for the first half of FY18.

McGrath (ASX:MEA) announced its CEO Cameron Judson will leave the company while it also announced its HY earnings were been adversely affected by underperformance of the company’s owned sales division and project marketing. It’s expecting a half year loss of $50,000 after one off items for the period ending 31 December 2017. Its shares also plunged to all time lows. 

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Consumer staples closing 0.8 per cent higher at 10,185. The worst performing sector was Financials (excluding Reits), closing 0.8 per cent lower at 7,169.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nine Entertainment Co Holdings (ASX:NEC), rising 6.9 per cent to close at $163. Shares in Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and HT&E Limited (ASX:HT1) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG), dropping 17.2 per cent to close at $2.75 (after settlement). Shares in Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ) and Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is almost flat 0.04 per cent lower and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,332 an ounce.
Light crude is US$0.42 lower at US$63.47 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.90 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower. 

Bitcoin has fallen 6 per cent to $11,799.
Ethereum fallen about 5 per cent to $1,069.
And Tether has slipped 0.8 per cent to $1.01.