Following mixed leads the Australian share market dipped into the red and sunk into session lows in the afternoon before closing 0.7 per cent down for the day, despite gaining 1.3 per cent over the week. Sentiment was given a knock today after weak trade data from China, stoking concerns about a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy. Locally the telco stocks led the falls, pulled down by heavyweight Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS), with the financials also dragging.
The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 31 points but gained 56 points over the week to finish at 4,277. On the futures market the SPI is now 20 points lower.
Wall Street over its four trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 286 points, the S&P 500 Index gained 38 points, the Nasdaq gained 109 points and the 100 Index gained 94 points.
China’s trade growth dropped more than expected last month. The nation’s Customs Bureau has reported exports rose just 1 per cent from last year and imports increased 4.7 per cent. The trade surplus came in at $US25.1 billion, down from $US31.5 billion last year.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has released its Statement on Monetary Policy and lifted its forecast for Australian growth this year. The RBA forecasts gross domestic product growth at a rate of 3.5 per cent in 2012, up from 3 per cent forecast in May. Forecast underlying inflation has increased from 2.25 per cent forecast in May to an expected 2.5 per cent in 2012.
Crown Limited’s (ASX:CWN) normalised net profit grew 22 per cent to $415 million in the 2012 financial year. The casino operator’s results was boosted by the contribution from its Melco Crown Entertainment joint venture in Macau. Shares in Crown closed 0.35 per cent higher at $8.56.
Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) has posted 21 per cent increase in its fiscal 2012 operating profit and forecast 6 per cent growth for the year ahead. The property investor also today announced an $US890 million partnership with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to target investment in logistics and industrial property in North America. Shares in Goodman Group closed 1.58 per cent higher at $3.86.
Shares in ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) ended higher after the bank announced it will keep its standard variable interest rates unchanged at 6.8 per cent following its monthly review.
Shares in Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) finished lower after Sydney broker, Foster Stockbroking, put a sell recommendation on the rare earths developer, citing the risk of balance sheet difficulties.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was industrials adding 15 points to close at 3,257.
The worst performing sector was telco services, losing 39 points to close at 1,290 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL), rising 6.3 per cent to close at $2.53. Shares in CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) and Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Tabcorp Holdings Limited (ASX:TAH), dropping 9.06 per cent to close at $2.91. Shares in Intrepid Mines Limited (ASX:IAU) and Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,612 an ounce, gaining $9.20 over the week.
Light crude is $0.39 lower at $US92.97 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $1.052, $0.048 lower over the week.