The Australian share market pulled back from its gains to finish at session lows, 0.6 per cent down, with Consumer Staples stocks proving the chief market dragger.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 28 points down to finish at 4,987. The value of trades was $5.2 billion on volume of 865 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
On the futures market the SPI is 17 points down.
Pharmaxis Limited (ASX:PXS)
has failed in its bid to have its cystic fibrosis drug Bronchitol approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA recommended the Australian biotechnology company conduct an extra clinical trial before approving the drug, with Pharmaxis saying it remains committed to bringing Bronchitol to US patients. Shares in Pharmaxis closed 7.07 per cent down at $0.46.
Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL)
shares have been placed in a trading halt following media speculation Chinese suitor Hanlong mining will miss next weeks deadline to progress a $1.4 billion takeover offer, while other reports suggest global mineral holdings company Glencore may be a possible alternate suitor for the group. The iron ore explorer has asked for the halt to remain in place until Thursday, with representatives continuing drawn out talks with Hanlong until then. Shares in Sundance resources closed 6.67 per cent down at $0.21.
Coal explorer New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX:NHC)
reported a 31.9 per cent drop in first half net profit, thanks to the weaker than expected thermal coal market.
Telco TPG Telecom Limited (ASX:TPM)
posted a 41 per cent rise in interim net profit and upgraded its full year earnings guidance after adding 36 thousand new broadband customers in the first half.
Up to one hundred coal miners will bear the brunt of global miner Rio Tinto Limited’s ( ASX:RIO) cost cutting program, with boss Sam Walsh ordering the miner’s coal, aluminium and uranium divisions to slash costs by two thirds.
Engineering servives company E&A Limited (ASX:EAL)
subsidiary E & A Contractors has secured a contract with technology company Siemens for the supply and manufacture of 20 wind towers for the Snowtown II Wind Farm project in South Australia.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Telco services adding 1 point to close at 1,544.
The worst performing sector was Consumer staples, losing 221 points to close at 10,039.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was EVOLUTION FPO (ASX:EVN)
, rising 4.96 per cent to close at $1.48. Shares in TPG Telecom Limited (ASX:TPM)
and Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL)
, dropping 6.67 per cent to close at $0.21. Shares in Aquila Resources Limited (ASX:AQA)
and Imdex Limited (ASX:IMD)
also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,604 an ounce. Light crude is $0.06 up at $US94.17 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.03.