Market Wrap: ASX drops after a week of gains

Market Reports

The Australian share market snapped three sessions of gains and dropped 0.6 per cent today but still ended the week on positive territory. After shedding 2.6 per cent in November the month of December got off to a good start despite falling commodity prices weighing on energy and mining stocks.

The spotlight will now turn to America’s employment data amid expectations the US economy created about 230,000 jobs and the unemployment rate stayed at 5.8 per cent last month. In the week ahead domestic jobs data will roll in with Australia’s own official jobs report on Thursday following job ads numbers on Monday. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index sank 33.5 points today, trimming the weekly gain of 22.3 points to close at 5,335. 
 
The value of trades was $4.5 billion on volume of 808 million shares at the close of trade. 
 
The top three stocks by value were Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO), National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 34 points lower. 
 
Wall Street
 
America’s major indexes have put in a mixed trading performance over the trading week so far: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 0.4 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has slipped 0.04 per cent. The NASDAQ has declined 0.4 per cent. The 100 Index has dipped 0.1 per cent. 
 
Company news
 
Shares in Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN) soared to the benchmark’s best performer after scoring an $872 million non-binding takeover bid. The mining services provider and supplier says it is reviewing the $5.10 per share offer received from funds advised by Pacific Equity Partners and Bain Capital Asia. Shares in Bradken soared 36.45 per cent to finish the week at $4.53. 
 
Shares in Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) plunged to the session’s worst performer after deciding to close its Koolan Island iron ore mine in Western Australia. Workers will be laid off as the operation goes on effective care and maintenance and the financial hit will be reflected in the company’s interim results. Shares in Mount Gibson Iron plunged 50 per cent to finish the week at $0.21. 
 
Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) has maintained its annual production guidance despite cutting 80 jobs in the face of the falling price of iron ore. The mining company believes the losses are required to maintain a competitive cost base. 
 
Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Limited (ASX:SOL) has reported strong first quarter results at its annual general meeting. The diversified investment company says it is well positioned to deliver higher profits over the current financial year.
 
Best and worst performers
 
One of the only sectors to end out of the red was industrials, adding 0.7 per cent to close at 4,210.
The worst performing sector was energy, shedding 2 per cent to close at 11,172 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN) soaring 36.45 per cent to finish the week at $4.53. Shares in Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) and Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) plunging 50 per cent to finish the week at $0.21. Shares in Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG) and Sundance Energy Australia Limited (ASX:SEA) also closed lower. 
 
IPOs 
 
Enverro Limited (ASX:ERR) debuted on the ASX today. The software development and professional consulting and support services company floated, opened and closed at $1.00.    
 
Evolve Education Group Limited (ASX:EVO) started trading today. The provider of early childhood education in New Zealand floated with an issue price of $NZ1.00, opened at $1.00 and closed at $1.015.    
 
Estia Health Limited (ASX:EHE) listed on the ASX today. The residential aged care operator floated with an issue price of $5.75, opened at $4.98 and closed at $4.74.    
 
Commodities 
 
The price of gold is buying $US1,203 an ounce, up $US18.37 over the week. 
Light crude is $0.57 lower at $US66.81 a barrel. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8376, down $0.011 over the week.