Market Wrap: Europe uncertainty takes toll

Market Reports

The Australian share market closed 0.8% in the red today, with continuing uncertainty in Europe taking its toll.

The S&P/ASX200 Index closed 31 points lower at 4,008. On the futures market, the SPI is 57 points weaker.

Economic news

Job vacancies dropped 1.3 per cent to 183,700 in trend terms for the three months to the end of August, but rose 3.3 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Company news

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) chairman Andrew Forrest has convinced the High Court to hear his appeal against a deceptive and misleading conduct finding. Earlier this year the full bench of the Federal Court found that Mr Forrest misled investors by giving the impression that broad agreements with Chinese construction companies were binding contracts. If the High Court had refused to hear the appeal, Mr Forrest would have likely been banned from board-level positions in Australian companies for up to seven years. A date for the appeal is yet to be set. Fortescue shares lost 1.55 per cent, to close at $4.45.

The ACCC has approved the joint business agreement between Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) and American Airlines. The consumer watchdog says there’s no reason to block the deal that will see the airlines coordinate their services between Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The airlines do not currently provide any overlapping direct services on the trans-Pacific routes. Meanwhile, Qantas has warned more than 8,000 passengers are likely to have their flights disrupted by strikes tomorrow. Qantas shares closed 2.07 per cent lower today at $1.42.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) expects an increase in resources jobs over the next five years, with 170,000 workers needed across the country. That’s according to Fairfax Media.

National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) says it’s still focused on growth in the UK, after Moody’s downgraded NAB's Clydesdale subsidiary.

IT services company CSG Limited (ASX:CSV) says its considering a $340 million takeover offer from an unnamed bidder. 

ASX Limited (ASX:ASX) rival operator Chi-X has appointed former Credit Suisse Australia chief executive David Trude as an independent director.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was health care, gaining 125 points to close at 7,683. The worst performing sector was real estate investment trusts, losing 15 points to close at 765.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was Regis Resources, lifting 4.45 per cent to $2.58. Shares in CSL and Mesoblast also finished the day stronger. The worst performing stock was Paladin Energy, losing 10.69 per cent to close at $1.17. PanAust and Bathurst Resources also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,622 an ounce. Light Crude Oil is up $0.21 to $81.42 a barrel.