The Australian share market sank for the second day of May, dropping 0.7 per cent amid concerns for the health of the global economy. Softer commodity prices pushed the mining and energy sectors to the worst performers of the session. The Australian dollar slipped to a one week low following the release of dissapoining local housing data.
The S&P/ASX 200 index dropped 36 points to close at 5,130.
The value of trades was $3.9 billion on volume of 708 million shares at the close of trade.
The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).
On the futures market the SPI is 44 points lower.
Building approvals have fallen by the largest amount in more than eight months. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported buildings approvals declined 5.5 per cent to 12,599 in March, defying expectations for a 1 per cent rise from the month before. Over the year, building approvals are 3.9 per cent up from March 2012.
Myer Holdings Limited’s (ASX:MYR) chief Bernie Brookes was at the centre of a social media storm following his critisism about the national disability insurance scheme. The department store retailer’s CEO claimed the levy would hurt business and chip into profits by taking away discretionary income from potential customers. Shares in Myer Holdings dropped 2.27 per cent today, ending at $3.01.
Flight Centre Limited (ASX:FLT) has boosted its full year profit guidance by up to 17 per cent following a solid start to the second half. The travel company expects to generate an annual underlying profit before tax of up to $340 million, bouyed by growth in domestic leisure travel. Shares in Flight Centre firmed 0.08 per cent today, ending at $38.20.
Asciano Limited (ASX:AIO) fell after the rail and ports operator slashed its CAPEX guidance, cut $250 million in costs and flagged job cuts in the face of tougher economic conditions.
Ausenco Limited (ASX:AAX) slumped amid headwinds highlighted at the engineering company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) - including a strong Australian dollar, increased competition and softening commodity prices.
Data#3 Limited (ASX:DTL) jumped as the technology service provider was reappointed as a panel supplier of computer hardware and services to the Queensland Government.
Watpac Limited (ASX:WTP) rose after the property developer was appointed sole contractor on the $65 million Port Macquarie Base Hospital expansion project after its joint venture (JV) partner went into administration in April.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was financials excluding real estate investment trusts adding 7 points to close at 1,101.
The worst performing sector was materials, losing 145 points to close at 8,956 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX), rising 6.32 per cent to close at $0.51. Shares in Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group Limited (ASX:SCP) and Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Mirabela Nickel Limited (ASX:MBN), dropping 11.11 per cent to close at $0.12. Shares in Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) and St. Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,452 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.09 down at $US90.94 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.023.