Clawing back: Aus shares close 0.2% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market closed lower for the third straight day. From the the outset we had negative leads to follow, after Wall Street closed lower with President Donald Trump announcing plans to hit $60 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods. But, by the afternoon, we managed to shake off the weak sentiment with half of our sectors starting to claw back early losses.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index finished with a loss of 0.24 per cent lower or 15 points down at 5,921.

Miners saw the most gains today after the iron ore price moved back above the $70 a tonne level, hitting $71.64. The likes of Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) gained almost 2 per cent, moving closer to its 50-day moving average with BHP (ASX:BHP) and Fortestcue (ASX:FMG) following.

Financials were the biggest drag today with the NAB (ASX:NAB), ANZ and CBA (ASX:CBA) losing over 1 per cent amid the banking inquiry. Plus traders and investors seems to be fearing more possible restrictions for lending.

Futures  

The Dow Futures are pointing to a rise of 54 points, when the market opens this evening.
And as for the ASX tomorrow morning, the SPI futures are suggesting a fall of 19 points.

Value of trades

$6.5 billion on volume of 847 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Westpac (ASX:WBC).

Company news 

Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) shares hit a 8 month low, after the gold producer advised its NSW Cadia gold mine is not likely to meet production guidance for this finanical year. It comes as the mine near Orange, Cadia, experienced a failure with its tailings dam wall on 9 March at 7pm. Newcrest told the market today, a part of the embankment slumped about 370 metres down with the breach being 270 metres wide. Before the slump occurred it also moved residents from two homes on Newcrest’s land below the tailings dams and informed other landholders below the area, to restrict access to their properties. Its shares closed 0.5 per cent lower at $19.87.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) launched an offer of a new security, PERLS X. The capital notes were offered via a prospectus with an initial face value of $100. The call date in which CBA can redeem the shares is 15 April 2025. The minimum amount you need to purchase the securities is $5,000. The offer closes on 29 March 2018, with the new shares with normal settlement to start trading on 11 April 2018. The first distribution is payable on 15 June.

Software provider Aconex (ASX:ACX) shareholders have voted in favour of the takeover of US tech giant Oracle with its shares being suspended from ASX trading today. The $1.2 billion proposed deal was announced by the Oracle in December.

And Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) has drawn down half of its $100 million bond issue, to construct and commission its plant at its flagship Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project, all so it can move toward starting production next quarter. The bond was supported by Australian and international funds as well as the Australian Government Body, The Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Trimantium Growth Ops (ASX:TGO) is expected to list tomorrow at noon. It’s tipped to be one of Australia’s biggest tech IPOs of the last year.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was materials adding 0.6 per cent to close at 11,286. The worst performing sector was financials, shedding 0.9 per cent to close at 7,067 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR), rising 6.6 per cent to close at $3.70. Shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG), dropping 5.5 per cent to close at $1.03. Shares in Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) and St Barbara (ASX:SBM) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has rose 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is pretty much flat.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,327 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.10 higher at $US60.99 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.72 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 14 per cent to US$7,920, Ethereum gained about 0.8 per cent to US$591 and Ripple has shed about 17 per cent to US$0.66.