Market Wrap: ASX ends lower despite M&A deals

Market Reports

 
The Australian share market closed 0.12 per cent lower after a surprise takeover offer for Wotif.com by US based travel company Expedia. 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 6 points down to finish at 5,519. 
 
The value of trades was $3.06 billion on volume of 493 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 Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 8 points down.
 
Economic news

The Roy Morgan survey of business confidence in June showed a fall of 6.2 points to 108.1 points. The decline shows businesses have still not recovered from the ‘tough budget’. Business confidence is now at its lowest level since June 2012 and nearly 21 per cent lower than its reading following the federal election in October last year.
 
The AIG/Housing Industry Association: Performance of Construction Index has lifted 5.1 points to 51.8 in June indicating the construction sector has entered growth territory for the first time this year.
 
And ANZ job ads for June rose 4.3 per cent recovering most of the 5.6 per cent decline in May. 
 
Company news
 
Consumer brand manager Pacific Brands Limited (ASX:PBG) today announced it has accepted the resignation of Managing Director John Pollaers effective immediately. In a statement to the ASX, the Chairman of Pacific Brands Peter Bush said John’s decision to leave was due to a difference in views between Mr Pollaers and the board on the best way forward for the embattled clothing maker. Mr Bush will take on the role of Executive Chairman as the company begins the search for a replacement. Shares in Pacific Brands lifted 1.85 per cent to $0.55.
 
Online travel booking company Wotif.com Holdings Limited (ASX:WTF) has scored a $703 million takeover offer from US online travel giant Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE).Expedia has offered Wotif $3.06 cash per share and a special dividend of 24 cents, representing a 31 per cent premium to the company’s trading price over last week. Wotif.com was one of the worst performers in the S&P/ASX 200 index over the 2014 financial year with its stock almost halving in value over the 12 months to the end of June. Shares in Wotif have charged 24.62 per cent higher to $3.29.
 
Decmil Group Limited (ASX:DCG) has scored a $26 million contract from mining giant Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) to design and build infrastructure at the Cape Lambert Port Expansion in Western Australia.
 
Poker machine manufacturer Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL) has agreed to pay $1.28 billion in cash for US competitor Video Gaming Technologies. The company is currently in a trading halt. 
 
Takeover target Country Road Limited (ASX:CTY) is forecasting higher profit before tax for the 2014 financial year. Defying a trend in write downs the fashion retailer says it now expects to report profit before tax between $87 million to $95 million, up from $56 million the year before.
 
And Poseidon Nickel Limited (ASX:POS) has reached an agreement to purchase the Black Swan nickel project from Russian miner Norilsk. The deal includes a processing plant and open pit mine.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was real estate investment trusts adding 0.9 per cent to close at 1,082. The worst performing sector was health, losing 0.6 per cent to close at 14,343 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Wotif, rising 24.62 per cent to close at $3.29. Shares in Lynas Corp and Ten Network also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Mount Gibson Iron, dropping 5.41 per cent to close at $0.70. Shares in Evolution Mining and Horizon Oil also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,313 an ounce. Light crude is $0.29 down at $US103.77 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 93.57 US cents.