Market Wrap: Aus shares continue losses

Market Reports

The Data
The Australian share market recovered some of yesterday’s losses early before being dragged lower by bluechips to close 0.52 per cent down. 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 27 points down to finish at 5070. 

The value of trades was $5.1 billion on volume of 791 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).

On the futures market the SPI is 31 points down.

Economic news

The services sector remains in contraction territory. The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Services Index rose 3.2 points to 49.3 in January, inching towards the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction. The low interest rates environment and the expectation of a falling Aussie dollar are expected to send the index above fifty in the near future.
Company news 
The potential fallout from today’s court decision against ANZ Bank (ASX:ANZ) is far from clear. The federal court has ruled that credit card late fees charged by the bank are illegal as they didn’t reflect any cost incurred by the bank. However, the court also ruled that other fees such as Over-limit and dishonour fees were not illegal.

Bentham IMF, who brought the class action on behalf of ANZ customers, believes the late fees represent around 25% of the total claim against ANZ and are therefore likely to represent a similar portion of the fee structure of other banks. Bentham IMF says it will be attempting to expedite the recovery of these fees from ANZ and other service providers. Shares in Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) closed 0.96 per cent down at $29.02. 
Resources services provider Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR) has been awarded a contract to build a greenfield fractionation gas plant in Alberta, Canada. The Australian company will construct the plant for local operator Pembina Pipeline Corporation. Worleyparsons estimates the project will generate $68.5 million in extra revenue. Shares in Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR) closed 3.03 per cent down at $15.38. 
Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP) shares have dropped after the casino operator posted a significant decline in first half net profit and announced its CEO plans to retire. Shares Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP) closed 6.03 per cent down. 
Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX:VAH) may have been a victim of sentiment after sister company Virgin Atlantic announced it would be ceasing it’s Sydney-Hong Kong operations. Virgin Atlantic is separate entity to Virgin Australia and isn’t even listed on the ASX. None the less, the market took it as a gloomy omen and shares in Virgin Australia Limited (ASX:VAH) fell to $0.29 before recovering to $0.32 to close 5.97 per cent down.
The best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Consumer Discretionaries adding 1 point to close at 1,716.The worst performing sector was Industrials, losing 37 points to close at 3,771.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pacific Brands Limited (ASX:PBG), rising 3.13 per cent to close at $0.66. Shares in JB Hi-Fi Limited(ASX:JBH) and FlexiGroup Limited (ASX:FXL) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Acrux Limited (ASX:ACR), dropping 7.93 per cent to close at $1.92. Shares in Echo Entertainment Group Ltd (ASX:EGP) and Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX:VAH) also closed lower. 
To commodities, Gold is buying $US1,254 an ounce. Light crude is $0.76 down at $US97.19 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8894. 
That’s the Market Wrap on 5 February. I’m Dallas Baird and thanks for joining me on the Finance News Network. We’ll leave you now with a look at the markets, have a great evening.