Heavy declines in the US: Aus shares stabilise

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market opened lower this morning in response to heavy declines in the US but stablished throughout the day – trading within a narrow range.

The price of gold jumped due to investors switching to safe haven assets.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 30 points down, or 0.5 per cent lower to finish at 5,785.

On the futures market the Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 112 points. And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 20-point fall.

The value of trades was $5.8 billion on volume of 739 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Aristorcrat Leisure (ASX:ALL).

Company news

Administrators have been called in to Harvey Norman’s (ASX:HVN) joint venture Victorian dairy farm Coomboona Holdings. The farm will continue to trade as they attempt to sell the business. It comes after Harvey Norman's profit took a $20.7 million impairment hit from the joint-venture in its half-year results in February. Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey outlaid $34 million for a 49.9 per cent stake in September 2015, buying the stake through a Harvey Norman subsidiary called HNM Galaxy, rather than one of his private companies.

Harvey Norman shares closed 0.3 per cent lower at $3.63 today.

Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) has submitted a Drug Master File for a sterile kit used in PET–CT imaging of prostate cancer patients to the US Food and Drug Administration. Prostate cancer is the number one cancer killer in the US.
The prostate imaging market in America is valued at around US$500 million.The kit is subject to FDA approval and should be available by mid 2018.

Shares in Telix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:TLX) closed 0.9 per cent lower at 58 cents at the end of trading hours today.

Headlines

Major recruitment changes for the commonwealth bank (ASX:CBA) Melanie Laing, Group Executive for Human Resources, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, Group Executive for Institutional Banking and Markets, & David Whiteing, Group Executive Enterprise Services and Chief Information Officer, will leave the Bank in the coming months.

The changes are being announced ahead of Matt Comyn assuming his new role as CEO on the 9th of April. Also management changes at AMP (ASX:AMP) and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN)

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Energy adding 0.04 per cent to close at 10135.
The worst performing sector was Financials excluding REIT, shedding 0.8 per cent to close at 6825 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG), rising nearly 3 per cent to close at $1.30. Shares in Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Genworth Mortage Insurance Australia (ASX:GMA), dropping around 4 per cent to close at $2.26. Shares in Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) and Syrah Resouces (ASX:SYR) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 1.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,348 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.72 up at $US65.88 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.19 US cents.


Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen1 per cent to US$8,499, Ethereum gained about 0.1 per cent to US$523 and Bitcoin Cash has fallen about 1.2 per cent to US$971