Market Wrap: ASX 0.5% lower

Market Reports

The Australian share market closed half a per cent lower as investors worry about Spain’s economic woes, and also China saying it doesn’t have any plans to introduce large scale fiscal stimulus. 
 
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 20 points weaker to finish at 4,094. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 13 points lower.

Economic news

Retail sales figures have disappointed, but construction work done has beaten expectations. 
 
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, retail sales dropped 0.2 per cent in April, from a gain of 1.1 per cent in March. It was the first fall in 10 months and missed expectations for a rise. 
 
Also out from the ABS, construction work done rose 5.5 per cent in the first three months of this year, around double the gain expected. 
 
Company news 

Crown Limited (ASX:CWN) has served on Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP) a notice requiring Echo to convene a general meeting of shareholders to consider the removal of John Story as the director of the company, and appoint former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett to replace him. The announcement includes a letter from James Packer written to Echo shareholders calling on them to support the proposed changes to the Echo board. Crown shares closed 0.58 per cent lower at $8.53. 
 
Transform Solar, a 50:50 joint venture between Micron Technology Inc and Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) will discontinue production of US solar cells because of a global oversupply and challenging market conditions. Transform Solar won’t be investing in new technology and will start reducing its Idaho operations and workforce over the next three months. Origin is reviewing the carrying value of its 50 per cent stake in Transform Solar, which was valued at $134 million at the end of last year. Origin shares closed 0.46 per cent weaker at $13.03. 

Shares in CSG Limited (ASX:CSV) jump after announcing the sale of its technology solutions business and a restructure of its print services division.
 
Australian Agricultural Company Limited (ASX:AAC) pays $13.3 million to buy a site for its new abattoir in Darwin.
 
Programmed Maintenance Services Limited (ASX:PRG) reports a 41 per cent jump in its 2012 financial year net profit when compared to continuing operations the year before.
 
And Western Desert Resources Limited (ASX:WDR) advises the Northern Territory Government has declared major project status for its Roper Bar iron ore project. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector was Telco Services gaining 3 points to close at 1,222. The worst performing sector was Materials, falling 98 points to close at 9,835 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Cabcharge Australia (ASX:CAB) rising 7.19 per cent to close at $6.41. Shares in Bathurst Resources (ASX:BTU) and OneSteel Limited (ASX:OST) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG) dropping 7.07 per cent to $0.46. Shares in Sigma Pharmaceuticals (ASX:SIP) and Integra Mining Limited (ASX:IGR) also closed lower.
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,551 an ounce. Light crude is $0.45 lower at $US90.31 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying 98.00 US cents.