Market Wrap: ASX struggles in afternoon trade

Market Reports

The Australian share market has given away most of its early gains in a late afternoon sell closing just 0.11 per cent lower despite better than expected Chinese GDP data. Minutes of the RBA monthly board meeting released today also held no nasty surprises. 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 6 points up to finish at 5,325. 
The value of trades was $3.85 billion on volume of 752 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
On the futures market the SPI is 4 points up.

Economic news

Chinese economic growth dipped to 7.3 per cent for the September quarter . It’s the weakest result since the global financial crisis raising hopes that Beijing will extend stimulus to forestall a sharp slowdown. Analysts had expected third quarter growth to dip to 7.2 per cent from 7.5 per cent last quarter. 
Company news
Southern Cross Media Group Limited (ASX:SXL) says tough market conditions through July and August have seen national revenues challenged. Markets have improved in September however metro revenues have slipped 14 per cent with regional revenues down 6 per cent. The media company has dropped its first half revenue guidance for the 2015 financial year by 7-8 per cent with earnings to fall up to 20 per cent on higher operating costs. Southern Cross Media closed 6.49 per cent lower at $0.86. 
Goodman Fielder Limited (ASX:GFF) says its $1.3 billion takeover offer from Singapore-based Wilmar International and Hong Kong’s First Pacific has received the green light from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board. The breads and spreads manufacturer says its suitors continue to progress the required regulatory approvals and it expects to hold a shareholder meeting for approval of the scheme by March 2015. Shares in Goodman Fielder closed 1.61 per cent up at $0.63. 
Information technology services company Empired Limited (ASX:EPD) has inked a deal to buy Intergen Limited for $17.4 million, describing the deal as a transformational acquisition.  
Veda Group Limited (ASX:VED) has responded to media reports that Pacific Equity Partners was going offload it’s 31.5 per cent stake in the company saying it has been advised that PEP is not currently undertaking the sale.
Newcrest Mining Limted (ASX:NCM) has reaffirmed full year guidance despite reporting a 12 per cent fall in gold production for the September quarter. 
And shares in Talisman Mining Limited (ASX:TLM) continue to surge higher after the metals explorer reached a binding deal with Glencore (LON:GLEN) to acquire the Sinclair Nickel Project in Western Australia.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was real estate investment trusts adding 0.7 per cent to close at 1,098. The worst performing sector was energy, losing 0.3 per cent to close at 13,432 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Downer EDI, rising 6.21 per cent to close at $4.45 a day after announcing it would acquire Tenix for $300 million. Shares in Macquarie Atlas Roads and Orora also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Southern Cross Media, dropping 6.49 per cent to close at $0.86. Shares in Veda and Worley Parsons also closed lower. 

Gold is trading at $US1,249 an ounce. Light crude is $0.04 down at $US82.71 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 88.17 US cents.