The Australian share market finished the trading day flat on a day where shares struggled to find a solid bearing, with some of the major reporting companies saw share price falls despite posting strong results. Consumer discretionary was the best performer of the major sectors, while health care stocks weighed.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.3 points down to finish at 5,157. The value of trades was $5.19 billion on volume of 783 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
, Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
On the futures market the SPI is 5 points down.
Consumer confidence has lifted in August, buoyed by lenders cutting mortgage rates and falls in the local currency. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute’s Index of Consumer Sentiment rose by 3.5 per cent to 105.7 in August, its highest level since March.
Wage prices grew in Australia in the second quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In the three months to June, the Australian wage price index grew 0.7 per cent, in line with analyst expectations. The index is 3 per cent higher year on year.
Carsales.com Limited (ASX:CRZ)
has lifted its full year net profit by 17 per cent to $83.5 million on the back of increased car advertisements and enquiry volumes. The online classifieds operator says it is focused on driving its business into overseas markets in fiscal 2014. Shares in Carsales closed 6.67 per cent up at $10.72.
Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN)
plans to increase the frequency on several of its international routes, part of a push to turn around its global operations. CEO Alan Joyce says the carrier will facilitate the changes through schedule optimisation and ongoing transformation efforts within its international division, including a new route between Perth and Auckland and increased frequencies between Brisbane and Los Angeles.
Shares in Qantas closed 3.16 per cent down at $1.23.
OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL)
shares fell after it posted a $269 million half year net loss, driven by $231 million in write downs on its assets.
Goodman Fielder Limited (ASX:GFF)
shares also fell despite it swinging to a full year net profit of $102.5 million and says its balance sheet remains strong, having been buoyed by improved performance in its bakery and grocery divisions during the second half.
CSL Limited (ASX:CSL)
shares also dropped despite first half net profit shooting up 19 per cent to $US1.2 billion, despite an unfavourable foreign exchange impact.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
shares edged lower as well, as the bank delivered a record net profit of $7.67 billion and lifted its dividend.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Consumer Discretionary adding 18 points to close at 1,719.
The worst performing sector was Healthcare, losing 268 points to close at 13,604 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Mineral Deposits Limited (ASX:MDL)
, rising 13.73 per cent to close at $2.32. Shares in Southern Cross Media Group Limited (ASX:SXL)
and Alacer Gold Corp - CDI (ASX:AQG)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL)
, dropping 6.52 per cent to close at $0.21. Shares in Computershare Limited (ASX:CPU)
and Downer EDI Limited (ASX:DOW)
also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,321 an ounce. Light crude is $0.47 down at $US106.36 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.91.