Australian investors have signalled their dismay today, after the European Central Bank failed to offer concrete measures for a solution to Europe’s debt crisis. The Australian share market retreated 1 per cent at open and has ended the day back to session lows, dropping 1.12 per cent, dragged down by the mining sector.
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 48 points down at 4,222, which is 12 points higher over week. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 44 points lower.
Looking at Wall Street, over the week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 9 points. The S&P 500 Index was up 5 points, the Nasdaq gained 17 points and the 100 Index gained 41 points.
Australia’s services sector softened last month. According to Australian Industry Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA). Their performance of services index dropped 2.3 points to 46.5 in July, coming in under the 50 level which indicates contraction.
Global miner BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) has been forced to write down the value of its US shale gas assets by about $2.7 billion, following a collapse in US gas prices. BHP Billiton purchased the Fayetteville, Arkansas, asset in February last year for $US4.75 billion in cash. Shares in BHP Billiton closed 2.25 per cent down at $31.30.
Forge Group Limited (ASX:FGE) has forecast a 24 per cent rise in its full year net profit compared to the same time last year. The construction and engineering company expects its net profit to be about $70 million. Forge acquired Perth based CTEC Pty Ltd at the beginning of this year to assist its expansion into the energy sector. Shares in Forge Group closed 2.13 per cent up at $4.31.
Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund (ASX:HDF) has once again recommended its shareholders accept Pipeline Partners Australia’s takeover offer of $2.325 per share and says the offer has been billed as fair and reasonable according to independent experts.
ResMed (ASX:RMD) says its full year profit was up 12 per cent compared to the same time last year, generating a net profit of $254.9 million. The medical equipment company says growth from its US markets largely contributed to the boost in its annual profit.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was telco services and the only sector in the black, adding 10 points to close at 1,376.
The worst performing sector was materials, losing 239 points to close at 9,201.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was ResMed Inc. (ASX:RMD) rising 9.27 per cent to close at $3.30. Shares in Integra Mining and Coalspur Mines also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Boart Longyear Limited (ASX:BLY) dropping 11.39 per cent to close at $2.10. Shares in Linc Energy and Alumina also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,591 an ounce, which is $31.85 lower over the week.
Light crude is $0.50 up at $US87.63 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.049 which is steady over the week.