Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.5% down

Market Reports

The Australian share market has finished in negative territory for the fifth consecutive trading day, closing 0.5 per cent down as retail and materials stocks posted some solid losses. Materials stocks including Evolution Mining, Alacer Gold and Atlas Iron all hit 12 month lows today.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 24 points down to finish at 4,960. The value of trades was $4 billion on volume of 805 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ). On the futures market the SPI is 20 points down.
 
Economic news

Industrial profits growth quickened in April from the previous month, due mainly to a low comparative base, indicating that the world's second largest economy still faces slack domestic and external demand. Chinese firms made profits of $71.22 billion in April, up 9.3 percent from the same month last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. 
 
Company news 
 
Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) has completed its three well Santos Basin exploration campaign, at a total net cost of $30 million. 
During the exploration program, the hydrocarbon explorer made two potential commercial oil discoveries, which CEO Bob Hosking says have dramatically improved the prospects for discovering oil in other targets within its offshore blocks in Brazil. Shares in Karoon Gas closed 4.51 per cent down at $5.50. 
 
Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG) says the ramp-up of its Karara Project in Western Australia is continuing to progress, with no material issues encountered with the commissioning of the plant, which has seen seven of nine key areas complete. Gindalbie says the project team is targeting to achieve nameplate capacity of 8 mega tonnes annually, subject to the timely installation of the new equipment and the absence of any issues. Shares in Gindalbie Metals closed 7.69 per cent down at $0.12. 
 
Westfield Retail Trust (ASX:WRT) plans to spend $435 million on redeveloping Westfield Miranda in New South Wales. The project will increase the size of the centre by about 19,000 square meters. 
 
David Jones Limited (ASX:DJS) has posted a slight drop in sales in the third quarter, weighed down by a warm start to winter and more consumer caution. 
 
Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) shares spiked to be today’s best performing stock, with the Africa focused iron ore explorer fielding approaches from  a number of interested parties about the development of its Mbalam-Nabeba Iron Ore Project in Cameroon. 
 
Australian Agricultural Company Limited (ASX:AAC) sold Brighton Downs Station in Queensland for $11.75 million to local pastoralists, after passing it in at auction last week.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Telco services adding 12 points to close at 1,687.
The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 140 points to close at 9,245.
 
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL), rising 23.75 per cent to close at $0.10. Shares in M2 Telecommunications Group Limited (ASX:MTU) and ALS Limited (ASX:ALQ) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Maverick Drilling and Exploration Limited (ASX:MAD), dropping 10.75 per cent to close at $0.42. Shares in Coalspur Mines Limited (ASX:CPL) and Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,391 an ounce. Light crude is $0.58 down at $US93.57 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9637.