Banks and miners drag: Aus shares close 0.18% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market closed lower for the first day this week with the banks dragging us lower, while a weaker Australian dollar pulled down the miners. Despite that, the ASX200 is still holding on to one-month highs.

Outside of financials and miners, all the other sectors gained green ground with health stocks leading the way after Healthscope (ASX:HSO) gained over 14 per cent, after a large buy-in and takeover offer.

Medical cannabis company, AusCann (ASX:AC8) shares puffed up over 8 per cent, after its major shareholder Canopy Growth Corp announced it will set up Asia-Pacific headquarters in Victoria.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) stumbled over 3 per cent lower after a broker downgrade to a sell, with other big banks following lower while the Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) fell the most out of the financials, losing 4.9 per cent.

Miners also falling below the line after iron ore price fell 1.9 per cent to US$66.38 and its futures are pointing to a fall of 0.9 per cent. Plus the Australian dollar lost against the greenback. Both sets of news saw the likes of Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) and BHP (ASX:BHP) cop selling.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 10.8 points lower, or 0.18 per cent lower, to finish at 5,911.

Futures

The Dow Jones Futures are 39 points lower. The SPI is 25 points higher.

Value of trades 

$7.2 billion on volume of 919 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO).

Company news 

Westpac (ASX:WBC) responded to media speculation today and came out saying its mortgage book continues to perform well. However it says its mortgage delinquencies and losses remain both relative to historical and industry averages. It comes after the big four banks was downgraded to a sell, by UBS from its prior ‘neutral’ position. UBS says WBC was downgraded as APRA’s ‘targeted review’ into mortgage books will be a game changer for the big four banks. However, it only downgraded Westpac Bank. Shares in Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) closed 3.60 per cent lower at $28.13.

Santos (ASX:STO) has delivered its Scotia project in Queensland ahead of schedule and under budget. The $493 million project was delivered for $416 million, 16 per cent under budget. It will supply gas to GLNG project, benefiting the east coast’s domestic and export LNG markets. Santos also sold non-core Denison trough assets in Queensland for $43 million. Shares in Santos (ASX:STO) closed 1.14 per cent higher at $6.20.

Healthscope (ASX:HSO) received a major buy in today by BGH Capital, who snapped up 14.52 per cent of its shares in the company. BGH, acting as a manager and adviser to a group of entities also made an unsolicited takeover offer to buy all of HSO’s shares for $2.36 cash per share. That a 16 per cent premium to HSO’s closing price on 24 April.

Getswift (ASX:GSW) has appointed Michael Fricklas and David Ryan, AO, to its Board of Directors. Both are seasoned directors with extensive and distinguished governance, executive and public company experience and will be independent non-executive directors of the board.

Kirkland Lake Gold (ASX:KLA) has new discovered high grade gold zones from the surface and underground drilling at the Taylor Mine in Canada.

Best and worst performing sectors 

The best performing sector was Health Care, adding 2.05 per cent to close at 27,286 points.

The worst performing sector was Financials, shedding 1.77 per cent to close at 6,027 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Healthscope (ASX:HSO), rising 14.78 per cent to close at $2.33. Shares in Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Boral (ASX:BLD), dropping 5.23 per cent to close at $6.52. Shares in Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) and Blackmores (ASX:BKL) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.57 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 1.02 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 1.13 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,324 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.31 higher at $US68.01 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.72 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has lost about 5 per cent to $8,938. Ethereum has lost about 4 per cent to $635. EOS has gained 3 per cent to $15.