Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.52% lower

Market Reports

Following mixed performances from offshore markets on Friday the Australian share market opened lower this morning and remained in the red all day, dragged down by some average performances in the mining sector to close 0.52 per cent down. 

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 23 points down today, finishing at 4,386. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 13 points down.

Company news

Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) has advised contractor Service Stream Limited (ASX:SSM) that its Access and Associated services contract will not be renewed beyond its expiry on December 31st this year. The utilities service provider says exceptions will be made for ongoing work to be completed for Telstra’s National Broadband Network, however the full impact of the contract ending on Service Stream will not be known until replacement projects can be secured. Shares in Service Stream closed 5 per cent down at $0.38.

Suncorp Group Limited (ASX:SUN) Executive Director Patrick Snowball is one of Australia’s highest paid chief executives after receiving a salary boost of $2.75 million between 2011 and 2012. Mr Snowball’s lucrative pay increase sees him pocket $8.27 million for the 2012 financial year, resulting largely from cash incentives abounding from the insurer’s 60 per cent full year profit increase. $2.7 million of deferred incentives from Suncorps natural disaster hit result in 2011 were paid in shares. Shares in Suncorp closed 1.06 per cent down at $9.29.

Seven Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SVW) has sold its Voice over Internet Protocol business Engin to telecommunications provider Eftel Limited (ASX:EFT) for $9.1 million.

Senex Energy Limited (ASX:SXY) expects to boost its annual net oil production by a further 66 per cent after generating $8.9 million in net profit for the year, rebounding from a $3.5 million loss in 2011.

Maca Limited’s (ASX:MLD) 60 per cent owned subsidiary MACA Civil Pty Ltd has been awarded a $60 million contract to construct flood levees close to Carnarvon in Western Australia. The 12 month contract is scheduled to commence next month.

And finally, Paintmaker DuluxGroup Limited (ASX:DLX) has gained 50.1 per cent support from its $210 million takeover target Alesco Corporation Limited (ASX:ALS).

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Health Care adding 73 points to close at 10,180. Materials was the worst of the indices, losing 127 points to close at 9,986 points.

In the S&PASX 200 the best performing stock was Coalspur Mines Limited (ASX:CPL), rising 10.71 per cent to close at $00.78. Shares in Gryphon Minerals Limited (ASX:GRY) and APN News and Media Limited (ASX:APN) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Intrepid Mines Limited (ASX:IAU), dropping 11.65 per cent to close at $0.46. Shares in Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG) and Cabcharge Australia Limited (ASX:CAB) were also lower at close.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,763 an ounce. Light crude is $0.69 down at $US92.20 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US1.041.