Market Wrap: ASX finds support with China data

Market Reports

The Australian share market closed 0.33 per cent down after recovering ground following the release of Chinese trade data. Figures released by the China Customs Administration showed that December exports were up 9.9 per cent on 12 months ago while imports dropped 2.3 per cent. The figures were much better than expected with China’s trade surplus coming in at US$49.5 million for the month easing pressure on the domestic economy. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 18 points down to finish at 5,405. 
 
The value of trades was $3.51 billion on volume of 636 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 Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 36 points down.
 
Company news
 
Recently listed Australian Careers Network Limited (ASX:ACO) says it has completed a share purchase agreement to acquire the Phoenix Institute of Australia. The Institute offers vocational and higher education training in holistic and transpersonal therapies, including art therapy. The deal allows ACN to add further courses to those on currently on offer at the Institute. ACN will pay an initial $2.25 million with a further $2.25 million payable over three years based on future profit generated from current programs. ACN says it is negotiating for a number of other possible acquisitions in the coming months. Shares in Australian Careers Network closed 0.75 per cent higher at $1.34. 
 
Mirrabooka Investments’ (ASX:MIR) reported a drop in first half net profit of 16 per cent to $3.7 million in the first half of the 2015 financial year. Revenue was up 2.4 per cent to $4.9 million. Mirrabooka says the business was dealing in a complex environment with marked declines in energy, resource and related service companies’ share prices. Mirrabooka managed risk by selling down companies at high valuation levels. New holdings included Cover-More Group, Federation Centres, and Transpacific Industries. Shares in Mirrabooka Investments slipped 2.69 per cent to $2.53. 
 
Medical diagnostic imaging company Capitol Health Limited (ASX:CAJ) agreed on a binding deal to buy Imaging @ Olympic Park for $25 million. 
 
Brookfield Prime Property Fund (ASX:BPA) says it has struck leasing deal with BHP Billiton Limited’s (ASX:BHP) proposed spin-off South32 to lease office space in its Perth property. 
 
Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC) says fourth quarter earnings released by Alcoa in the US showed improvement in market conditions with higher margins due to better pricing and the stronger US dollar.
 
And Carnarvon Petroleum Limited (ASX:CVN) says it is making a $10 million strategic investment to identify further oil and gas prospects in its Phoenix project.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was telco services adding 1.1 per cent to close at 2,129. The worst performing sector was energy, losing 1.7 per cent to close at 10,755 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Evolution Mining, rising 8.98 per cent to close at $0.91. Shares in Northern Star Resources and Super Retail Group also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Mount Gibson Iron, dropping 11.32 per cent to close at $0.24. Shares in Atlas Iron and Cardno also closed lower. 
 
To commodities, Gold is trading at $US1,235 an ounce. Light crude is $2.23 down at $US46.76 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 81.69 US cents.