The Australian share market has had another weak end to the day, closing 0.95 per cent lower, after a day of a falling banking sector and weak offshore leads.
The S&P/ASX200 Index dropped 44 points to close at 4,585. On the futures market, the SPI is down 41 point lower.
Economic news: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released today show the value of construction work for the first quarter has risen a modest 0.7 per cent to $42.3 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars. The figures were compared with market forecasts of a 1.5 per cent increase.
Company news: Energy producer Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) has discovered oil in the Carnarvon Basin. The company said the net oil column, of 18 metres is in excellent equality reservoir sands in the Angel Formation. Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) shares ended the day down 0.72 per cent to close at $13.87.
Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX:QAN) pilots applied today to take their first industrial action since 1966. The airline’s media unit this afternoon tweeted: "Qantas disappointed pilots' union to take vote on possible strikes. Vote takes 4 weeks. Strikes would cause passenger disruptions." Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX:QAN) shares ended the day down 0.95 per cent to close at $2.09.
The BBC has reported that NAB (ASX:NAB) is the inevitable bidder for 100 per cent of Lloyds Banking Group’s (LON:LLOY) Verde banking business. The BBC says this is because the UK’s five biggest banks were restricted from bidding because of European Commission rules.
Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS) shares closed more than 70 per cent lower today after the pharmaceutical company was refused the approval of a cystic fibrosis drug.
Online classifieds company Carsales.com Ltd (ASX:CRZ) has launched a $105.8 million on-market share buyback, for up to 10 per cent of its issued capital.
And Austal Ltd (ASX:ASB) has cut its full year profit forecast. The Australian dollar has adversely impacted the shipbuilders translation of earnings from its international operations.
The best performing sector with the least amount of losses was Consumer Discretionary, down 7 points to close at 1,386. The worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, dropping 105 points to close at 7,679.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was the Reject Shop (ASX:TRS). Shares rose 10.66 per cent to close at $11.73. Shares in Mincor Resources (ASX:MCR) and AlacerGold (ASX:AQG) also closed in positive territory today.
The worst performing stock was Emeco Holdings Ltd (ASX:EHL), shedding 6.98 per cent to close at $1. Shares in White Energy (ASX:WEC) and RocOil (ASX:ROC) also sagged today.
In commodities, gold is trading at $US1,522 an ounce and Light crude is down $0.99 cents at $US98.60 a barrel.