The Australian share market finished lower ahead of the four day Easter break, falling 0.6 per cent in a day of high volume trade, with some big losses in the Energy sector as well as among the miners.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 29 points down to finish at 4,967. Over the week the index dropped 0.8 points. The value of trades was $7.5 billion on volume of 922 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
On the futures market, the SPI is 32 points down.
Looking at Wall Street, where all the major US indicies finished higher over their trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 105 points. The S&P 500 Index gained 17 points, the Nasdaq went up by 34 and the 100 Index strengthened by 35 points.
The TD Securities Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge increased by 0.2 per cent in March, on the back of a flat result in February. The gauge has risen by 2.1 per cent over the year to March. The reading was the lowest annual inflation outcome for eight months, renewing expectations of another official interest rate cut by June.
Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM)
has reduced its production targets by approximately 10 per cent, owing to persistant challenges at its Lihir operations in Papua New Guinea. The gold explorer reduced production guidance to between 2 and 2.15 million ounces for the current financial year. Shares in Newcrest closed 8.32 per cent down at $20.05.
Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC)
shares fell sharply today after the oil and gas explorer announced a $200 million capital raising through a convertible bond issue. The company says the bonds will support and de-risk the commercialisation of the company’s key assets and provide working capital for at least three years. Shares in Linc Energy closed 16.10 per cent lower at $2.24.
Telecom Corp of New Zealand (ASX:TEL)
plans to slash approximately 1,000 full time equivalent employees by the middle of the year, part of an effort to save up to $NZ110 million.
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI)
has inked a deal to divest a majority stake in its telecommunication assets to Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Utilities adding 40 points to close at 5,541.
The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 226 points to close at 13,097.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX)
, rising 6.96 per cent to close at $11.07. Shares in PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA)
and Cardno Limited (ASX:CDD)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Nufarm Limited (ASX:NUF)
, dropping 17.19 per cent to close at $3.95. Shares in Troy Resources Limited (ASX:TRY)
and Aurora Oil & Gas Limited (ASX:AUT)
also closed lower.
Malabar Coal Limited (ASX:MBC)
started trading today. The Coal explorer listed with an issue price of $1.00, opened at $1.04 and a closed at $0.84.
Gold is trading at $US1,606 an ounce, and is down $6.90 over the week. Light crude is $0.01 higher at $US96.59 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $1.042 and is $0.0004 down over the week.