The Australian share market has shaken off early gains with the big four banks driving the market 0.37 per cent lower after the RBA kept the official cash rate on hold.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 20 points down to finish at 5,376.
The value of trades was $4.72 billion on volume of 716 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
On the futures market the SPI is 14 points down.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept the official cash rate at an historical low 2.5 per cent for the eleventh straight meeting. In its July statement, the RBA said markets in general do not seem to be expecting any immediate rise in global rates. Strong expansion has been noted in the housing sector and wages and inflation remain at low levels.
Elsewhere, The RP Data-Rismark index shows home prices across capital cities rose 1.4 per cent recovering from a 1.9 per cent fall in May.
And the ANZ-Roy Morgan poll of consumer confidence shows a slip of 0.3 per cent for the past week but confidence is 6 per cent higher for the past month.
Online car buying website Carsales.com Limited (ASX:CRZ)
is investing $60.1 million to acquire a controlling stake in Australia’s largest car finance broker Stratton Finance. Carsales.com will take a 50.1 per cent stake in Stratton Finance and will fund the purchase with existing cash reserves and debt. Carsales CEO and Managing Director Greg Roebuck says Stratton Finance is a natural fit and the transaction will bring together two businesses with very similar DNA and operating styles. Shares in Carsales.com have risen 3.02 per cent to $10.91.
Coventry Group Limited (ASX:CYG)
has today announced it will pay share holders a fully franked special dividend of 11 c per share. A further series of four 11c fully franked dividends will be paid over the next 13 months returning some $21 million of cash to investors. Coventry has gone from owing $83 million in debt some years ago to holding cash and term deposits in the region of $50 million after selling some of its retail automotive parts business. The company had been holding the cash for acquisitions but has yet to find anything suitable. Activist investors have been calling for a return of shareholder capital of up to $25 million. Coventry executive chairman Roger Flynn said the board had decided on its proposed course of action in response to the wishes of long term investors. The Coventry Group share price leapt 12.5 per cent to $3.15 on the news.
said it will write-down of about $42 million following a review of its non-core and non-strategic assets.
Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG)
has announced it is another step closer to completing its Magnolia LNG project in Louisiana after the Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline filed an application to transport gas to the proposed Magnolia plant.
And Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL)
has inked a 20-year liquefied natural gas sale and purchase agreement with Corpus Christi Liquefaction, LLC.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was industrials adding nearly one per cent to close at 4,066 points.The worst performing sector was financials, losing 1.07 per cent to close at 6,008 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Lynas Corporation, rising 7.69 per cent to close at $0.14. Shares in Evolution Mining and Paladin Energy also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Nufarm, dropping 3.66 per cent to close at $4.48 Shares in ResMed and Nine Entertainment also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,327 an ounce. Light crude is $0.37 down at $US105.37 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 94.58 US cents.