The Australian share market swayed either side of the open following mixed offshore leads. Investors juggled positive euro-zone growth figures with weak earnings from Wall Street and a series of profit results on home turf. The mining sector supported the boarder bourse and gold stocks put in a stellar performance following an uptick in metals prices.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 5 points lower at 5,152.
The value of trades was $5.3 billion on volume of 917 million shares at the close of trade.
The top three stocks by value were Sydney Airport Holdings Limited (ASX:SYD)
, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
On the futures market the SPI is 13 points lower.
Average weekly ordinary time earnings rose in the year to May 2013. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports average earnings for adult full-time employees improved 5.3 per cent. Private sector average earnings were up 5.7 per cent and public sector average earnings were up 4.5 per cent in the 12 months to May.
Commodity markets will continue to feel the pinch from slowing Chinese economic growth, according to the inaugural China Resources Quarterly. The report, published by Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
and the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics notes the Chinese economy grew at a rate slightly below its potential in the first half of 2013 and says there is mounting evidence the current phase of the commodity price cycle is coming to an end.
Reporting season results
Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES)
has increased its full year net profit by 6.3 per cent to $2.3 billion and announced a capital return of 50 cents per share. The conglomerate’s result was boosted by earnings growth at Coles, Bunnings and Kmart but impacted by falling earnings from its resources division and lifestyle retailer Target. Shares in Wesfarmers back-flipped to close 1.6 per cent lower today at $41.26.
AMP Limited (ASX:AMP)
has improved its interim net profit by 6 per cent to $393 million in the first half of the current financial year. The wealth manager also appointed a new chief, announcing Craig Meller will take the top spot from Craig Dunn from the beginning of next year. Shares in AMP gained 3.52 per cent today, ending the session at $4.70.
Property manager Goodman Group’s (ASX:GMG)
full year net profit has slumped 60 per cent, mainly because of foreign exchange movements, while its operating profit lifted 17 per cent due to improved income from its management and development businesses.
Drug developer Pharmaxis Limited (ASX:PXS)
has vowed to persist with its cost saving program after widening its annual net loss to$43.5 million following drug approval delays.
Mining services group Mineral Resources Limited (ASX:MIN)
has increased its annual net profit by 2 per cent, generated record revenue of more than $1 billion and forecast continued growth opportunities in the iron ore sector.
Nickel miner Mincor Resources NL (ASX:MCR)
has extended its annual net loss to $22.5 million but spruiked a strong outlook for the year ahead boosted by new growth initiatives in Western Australia.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was materials adding 47 points to close at 9,885.
The worst performing sector was consumer discretionary, losing 14 points to close at 1,705 points.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Perseus Mining Limited (ASX:PRU)
, rising 14.91 per cent to close at $0.66. Shares in Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX:SLR)
and OceanaGold Corporation (ASX:OGC)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL)
, dropping 5.95 per cent to close at $0.08. Shares in Aquila Resources Limited (ASX:AQA)
and OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL)
also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,341 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.28 up at $US107 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying 91.65 US cents.