The Australian share market closed lower today following a volatile day on Wall Street with their major benchmarks alternating between gains and losses. The news of the resignation of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn is still being absorbed and investors are also concerned the US President will proceed with steel and aluminium tariffs.
Taking all of this into consideration the sectors saw a fall with energy, financials and healthcare the worst performers and real estate investment trusts losing the least. Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), the owner of Gloria Jeans and Donut King, did see a rise. Meanwhile, Monadelphous (ASX:MND) lost about 7 per cent.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 61 points lower, or 1 per cent lower to finish at 5,902. On the futures market the SPI is 59 points down.
The value of trades was $5.4 billion on volume of 723 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac (ASX:WBC) the NAB (ASX:NAB) and BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP).
Local economic news
The Australian economy grew less than expected in the fourth quarter of last year, with GPD rising 0.4 per cent, compared to the expected 0.6 per cent rise. It was also weaker when compared to the last quarter’s 0.7 per cent up tick. Meantime, year-on-year (YOY) the economy grew at 2.4 per cent, slightly less than the expected yearly figure of 2.5 per cent.
Community based healthcare provider Zenitas (ASX:ZNT) has settled the acquisition of Peninsula Sports Medicine. The settlement covers 5 of the 6 clinics, the 6th will be acquired once its profitability achieves a benchmark hurdle. They paid $6.9 million for 80 per cent of PSMG. Last year the 5 clinics achieved a revenue of $6.4 million last year, with an EBITDA of $1.5 million. Zenitas closed 0.4 per cent lower at $1.17 cents.
The Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) has announced plans to raise around $750 million dollars through the issue of hybrid capital notes. The bank said that the “PERLS X” notes would offer an expected margin of 3.4 to 3.6 per cent above the bank bill rate.The first distribution is scheduled for 15 June 2018.
The board of Australian mining company AWE, (ASX:AWE) has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept the takeover offer from company Mitsui. Following the withdrawal of an offer by Chinese Energy Reserve and Chemical Group (CERCG) last week Mitsui’s offer is currently the only one available to AWE shareholders for their shares.
Medical technology company ImpediMed (ASX:IPD) has entered into an agreement with Sharp HealthCare to be a centre of Excellence for exploration devices in their cancer care program. Their devices - the SOZO and L-Dex help clinicians assess lymp-he-dema in patients.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Real Estate Investment Trusts XPG shedding 0.3 per cent per cent to close at 1301
The worst performing sector was Consumer Staples shedding 1.6 per cent at 10,94
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), rising 5.3 per cent to close at $1.20. Shares in Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) and NuFarm (ASX:NUF) followed in second and third place.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Monadelphous (ASX:MND), dropping 6.8 per cent to close at $14.65. Shares in Estia (ASX:EHE) and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,334 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.21 lower at $US62.36 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.02 US cents.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mostly lower.
Bitcoin has fallen around 5 per cent to US$10,823, Tether held at $1, Ethereum dropped around 4 per cent $US813.