The Australian share market closed 0.6 per cent down, as mining stocks dug a hole for the entire market on a fall in commodity prices and fears of a slowdown in China.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 29 points down to finish at 5,192. The value of trades was $5 billion on volume of 833 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
, Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
On the futures market the SPI is 30 points down.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says wage prices grew in Australia in the first quarter but fell short of expectations. In the three months to March, the Australian wage price index grew 0.7 per cent, shy of analyst expectations of a 0.9 per cent increase.
Federation Centres Limited (ASX:FDC)
has reported sales growth of 2.4 per cent for the first quarter, owing to its renewed focus on food retailing. Overall annual sales growth increased from 2 per cent at the end of December, marking a superior level of growth to Federation’s giant competitor Westfield Group (ASX:WDC)
. Shares in Federation Centres closed 0.37 per cent down at $2.66.
Mining services contractor UGL Limited (ASX:UGL)
took a hit today after it again slashed its profit guidance, with CEO Richard Leupen saying volatility in commodity markets has led miners to further delays on major projects, impacting revenues of UGL's engineering business. UGL dropped it full-year earnings guidance to between $90 million and $100 million after its quarterly review, having previously downwardly revised guidance to between $150 million and $160 million. Shares in UGL closed 17.03 per cent down at $7.94.
Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN)
and Emirates have received New Zealand government approval to extend their alliance to trans-Tasman routes, the last big hurdle to the major alliance.
DEXUS Property Group (ASX:DXS)
has sold five of its six remaining European industrial properties for $21.3 million.
Electricity company SP AusNet’s (ASX:SPN)
full year net profit rose 9.5 per cent to $279.1 million, despite less electricity being distributed because of higher prices.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
remains on track for another record full-year profit after reporting cash earnings of $1.9 billion in the third quarter.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Financials excluding real estate investment trusts adding 14 points to close at 6,704.
The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 189 points to close at 9,473.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC)
, rising 30 per cent to close at $0.39. Shares in FlexiGroup Limited (ASX:FXL)
and Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited (ASX:SIP)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was UGL Limited (ASX:UGL)
, dropping 17.03 per cent to close at $7.94. Shares in Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL)
and Mirabela Nickel Limited (ASX:MBN)
also closed lower.
Shine Corporate Limited (ASX:SHJ)
started trading today. The legal services provider floated with an issue price of $1.00, opened at $1.40 and closed at $1.51.
Gold is trading at $US1,419 an ounce. Light crude is $0.12 down at $US94.09 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.989