The Australian share market had bit of a wild ride today, bouncing higher this morning following Wall Street’s slight recovery, but it quickly slipped with most sectors seeing red by noon, but the ASX lifted in the afternoon with the property sector shining while the staples space gained momentum with Bellamy’s Australia (ASX:BAL) and a2 Milk (ASX:A2M) gaining 7 and 5 per cent respectively.
Holding us back today, falls in just under half of the sectors. Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) in the discretionary space continued to slide today, hitting an all-time low.
The iron ore price fell and the futures for the commodity are suggesting another fall, which saw muted movement in the major miners like Rio (ASX:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP), while smaller companies likes Flinders Resources (ASX:FND) gained 30 per cent, and Malachite Resources (ASX:MAR) lifted 17 per cent.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 10 points up, or 0.2 per cent higher to finish at 5,761.
The Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 85 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a gain of 15 points..
Value of trades
$5.8 billion on volume of 777 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP).
Local economic news
Retail sales lifted in February by 0.6 per cent according to fresh data from the ABS, beating forecasts it would rise by 0.5 per cent.
Meanwhile building permits fell in February, from the previous month’s stellar growth of 17.2 per cent, falling 6.2 per cent (in seasonally adjusted terms).
Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ) and Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) advised they will end their trans-Tasman alliance in October this year after partnering for seven years, with regulatory approval expiring. It comes as the airliners aren’t applying for renewal as both parties want to focus on their own objectives. While Air NZ says the move will ensure their customers have a more consistent experience. It also noted Australia is the largest source visitors to NZ with Air New Zealand having a major presence in the market. As for Virgin Australia shares, they closed 4.4 per cent lower at $0.22 while Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ) closed 3 per cent higher at $3.20.
The acquisition of Murray Goulburn (ASX:MGC) by Canadian dairy giant Saputo has been given the green light from the ACCC.
Gold producer, St Barbara (ASX:SBM) has invested $4 million in a small mining company, Duketon Mining (ASX:DKM) which has a flagship project in Western Australia. Duketon shares rallied after St Barbara’s stake in the company went to 12.3 per cent.
Yowie (ASX:YOW) chocolates will now be available at 7-Eleven and CVS stores including Walmart, Walgreens, Food for Less, just to name few.
Buy not pay later company Afterpay Touch (ASX:APT) has responded to recent media speculation about the company’s systems saying research shows customers are using the product responsibly.
And trading software company Iress, (ASX:IRE) has announced it will acquire regtech and data analytics provider Lucsan after it made a minority investment in the firm last year.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was reits adding 1.1 per cent to close at 1,307.
The worst performing sector was consumer discretionary, shedding 0.6 per cent to close at 2,184 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bellamy's Australia (ASX: BAL), rising 7.1 per cent to close at $21.21. Shares in The a2 Milk Company (ASX: A2M) and Sandfire Resources Nl (ASX: SFR) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group (ASX: RFG), dropping 9.7 per cent to close at $0.84. Shares in G8 Education (ASX: GEM) and Mcmillan Shakespeare (ASX: MMS) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.3 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,334 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.56 up at $US63.57 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.97 US cents.
Bitcoin trades at US$7,394, Ethereum gained about 2 per cent to US$406 and Ripple has added 5 per cent to US$0.53.