Sigma (ASX:SIG) GM charged with insider trading: Aus shares down 0.6%

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock


A negative day of trade for the last trading session of the month. After rising at the open, and losing steam mid-session, the ASX 200 unwound some of its losses during the second half of the session but closed 0.6 per cent lower. All of the sectors, except Financials and Energy ended lower. The Info Tech sector was the biggest drag on the market today. Travel stocks such as Qantas, Flight Centre and Webjet also took a hit today after Queensland announced it would reopen its borders to NSW on Tuesday excluding the Greater Sydney area, and Victoria will remain closed to Queensland.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 33 points lower to finish at 5,928.

Over the week, the market has lost 239 points or just over 4 per cent. Energy was the worst performing sector this week, down over 6 per cent.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 236 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 33 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 154 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 28 point fall on Monday morning.

Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released producer price indexes for the September quarter. Final demand (excluding exports) rose 0.4 per cent this quarter compared to last quarter, falling short of the expected 0.7 per cent rise. However, demand fell 0.4 per cent over the past twelve months. The Reserve Bank of Australia published figures on private sector credit. Private sector credit rose 0.1 per cent in September month on month and is up 2 per cent year on year.

Broker moves

Citi rates Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) as a buy, with a price target of $18.50. Fortescue’s September shipments were in line with the broker’s forecast and costs were lower than expected. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) closed 4.5 per cent higher at $17.37.

Company news

A general manager employed by Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) has been charged with two counts of insider trading. Michael Story was charged following allegations from the corporate regulator that he disposed of shares weeks before the loss of a major client was made public. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s case alleges that Mr Story was in possession of inside information relating to the status of negotiations to renew the wholesale supply agreement between Sigma and Chemist Warehouse at the time he disposed of shares. The matter has been adjourned to a committal mention hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on December 18. Shares in Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) closed 0.9 per cent lower at $0.53.

Telecom and IT company, Over The Wire Holdings (ASX:OTW) has completed its acquisition of cloud business Digital Sense Hosting Pty Ltd. The $27 million acquisition was fully funded by an institutional placement and existing cash. Shares in Over The Wire Holdings (ASX:OTW) closed 1.1 per cent lower at $4.41.

Automotive portal operator, iCar Asia (ASX:ICQ) has received a non-binding proposal from Autohome Inc. to acquire the shares of iCar for $0.50 cash per share by way of a scheme of arrangement.

Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR) has entered into agreements that will see it acquire an 85 per cent joint venture interest in the Red Bore Copper Project.

AMP (ASX:AMP) has confirmed that it received a takeover offer from Ares Management Corporation. US-based Ares lobbed an indicative, non-binding, conditional proposal to acquire 100 per cent of the shares by way of scheme of arrangement.

IPOs

Nutritional Growth Solutions (ASX:NGS) started trading today, after an oversubscribed IPO. The company is commercialising a range of patented nutritional children's milk formulas and intends to use the capital to accelerate growth in China and the US. It issued shares at $0.20, started trading on the ASX at $0.31 and closed at $0.305.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best-performing sector was Financials, adding 0.4 per cent, while the worst-performing sector was Information Technology, shedding 2 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was AMP (ASX:AMP), rising 19.5 per cent to close at $1.53. Shares in ResMed (ASX:RMD) and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) followed.

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Western Areas (ASX:WSA), dropping 17.7 per cent to close at $1.93. Shares in EML Payments (ASX:EML) and IDP Education (ASX:IEL) followed.

Asian markets

Lower. Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.03 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Wall Street

Wrapped up our four trading days this week lower: The Dow Jones lost 6.3 per cent, The S&P 500 lost 4.7 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq lost 3.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,874 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.7 per cent lower at US$116.00.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a lift of 1.7 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.08 lower at US$36.09 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.42 US cents.