Market Wrap: ASX slumps on earnings woes

Market Reports

The Australian share market has sagged 0.52 per cent lower today as a slew of companies released earnings reports. CBA traded ex-dividend weighing on the market whilst investors are combed through the minutes of the RBA February rate cut meeting for clues as to when the next rate cut will occur. Meanwhile, the latest figures from China are showing a 5 per cent drop in average new home prices across the country’s major cities.  
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31 points down to finish at 5,858. 
The value of trades was $5.53 billion on volume of 713 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO).
On the futures market the SPI is 2 points down
Economic news

Minutes from the RBA reveal the central bank was tossing up whether to cut the interest rate in February or wait till March. The RBA decided a rate cut was better explained ahead of the Statement of Monetary Policy. The meeting notes also revealed that the Central Bank would be carefully monitoring developments in the housing market. 
Company news
An upbeat earnings report from Macquarie Group Limited (ASX:MQG) has sent the stock to levels not seen since the GFC. Volatile commodity and currency prices are seeing plenty of trades through the capital markets units whilst the banking group’s advisory business is enjoying more activity in the M&A sector. Corporate activity is driving profit higher with Macquarie Group advising that it expects full year results to be at the upper end of the guidance range. Macquarie Group soared 3.53 per cent to $70.90. 
Meanwhile shares in Dick Smith Holdings Limited (ASX:DSH) copped a bit of a beating today in the wake of a 0.8 per cent rise in first half profit. Total sales rose 8.9 per cent with Australian business growing well but the New Zealand market still proving challenging. The outlook was upbeat however with the electronics chain looking forward to rising inflation and higher prices for its goods.  Shares in Dick Smith slid 6.67 per cent to $2.10. 
Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) has swung to a net loss of $869.8 million for the first half of the 2015 financial year. This compares to a net profit of $78.3 million for the same period last year. 
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) lost favour after reporting flat growth in first quarter profit. 
Coca Cola Amatil Limited (ASAX:CCL) revealed a 25 per cent slump in full year net profit on the back of dwindling carbonated drink sales. 
And GWA Group Limited (ASX:GWA) has posted a first half loss of $12.8 million on the back of one-off charges based around it’s restructure.
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was consumer staples adding 1.2 per cent to close at 9,875. The worst performing sector was financials excluding real estate investment trusts, losing 1.3 per cent to close at 7,978 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Metcash, rising 7.28 per cent to close at $1.62. Shares in Coca-Cola Amatil and Iluka Resources also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was GWA Group, dropping 13.1 per cent to close at $2.52. Shares in Seek and Mount Gibson Iron also closed lower. 

Gold is trading at $US1,228 an ounce. Light crude is $0.12 lower at $US53.55 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 78.01 US cents. 

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