Back track Wednesday: Aus shares close 0.5% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market closed lower for the first time this week, reversing after two days of straight gains on Monday and Tuesday. Telcos took the post as the worst performing sector, followed by utilities and staples, leading most of the sectors lower.

But commodity players rallied today on the back of the iron ore price gaining over 2 per cent with crude oil lifting over 3 per cent over night and aluminium following. The engineering company, WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) gained 4.9 per cent, a week after buying a German chemical business. While Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) rose over 2 per cent.

Top 300 lithium company, Global Geoscience (ASX:GSC) gained 5.8 per cent while mining giant, BHP (ASX:BHP) added 2 per cent and Rio (ASX:RIO) rose 1.3 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 28 points lower, or 0.5 per cent lower to finish at 5,829.

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 72 points up.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 37 point fall.

Value of trades

$8.4 billion on volume of 682 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Westpac (ASX:WBC).

Local economic news

Construction work completed sharply fell in the December quarter by 19.4 per cent when compared to the September quarter. But, compared to the December quarter for 2016, construction work has actually risen by 4.7 per cent.

Company news 

ANZ (ASX:ANZ) has advised its deputy CEO Graham Hodges will leave the company, retiring after 27 years with the bank. He has held a number of leadership positions since joining in 1991, from CEO of ANZ New Zealand, to group managing director of corporate banking and their chief economist. He served as deputy CEO from May 2009. As for ANZ shares they closed 1.1 per cent lower at $26.89.

Buy now pay later company, AfterPay Touch (ASX:APT) says its sales for the first three quarters of FY18 are up 400 per cent when compared with the same period last year.

Mining company South32 (ASX:S32) says it will appeal a Colombian Courts’ decision regarding the alleged health and environmental impacts on the community surrounding the company’s Colombian mine.

QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) announced an overhaul of its senior leadership team. Chief financial officer Michael Ford will leave and be replaced by local CFO Inder Singh, while Peter Grewal will leave Swiss Re to become chief risk officer in July.

Fund manager, Blue Sky Alternative investments (ASX:BLA) has hit back at media reports regarding its private equity investment, Wild Breads, saying it’s not affiliated with an advisory firm’s insolvency arm as media stories suggested.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was energy adding 1 per cent to close at 10,557.
The worst performing sector was telcos, shedding 1.5 per cent to close at 1,131. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), rising 8.5 per cent to close at $0.00. Shares in Worleyparsons (ASX:WOR) and Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia (ASX:GMA) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Wisetech Global (ASX: WTC), dropping 5.4 per cent to close at $9.41. Shares in Orocobre (ASX: ORE) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,345 an ounce.
Light crude is $2.04 up at $US65.47 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.51 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin trades at US$6,853 Ethereum trades at US$418 and Verge trades at US$0.08.