Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.2% down

Market Reports

The Australian share market remained in the red today and closed 0.2 per cent down. 
 
The miners saw weakness today on pessimism from iron ore price forecasts which have headed lower this week. 
 
Consumer staples also weighed on the market while the energy sector pushed higher.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 14 points down to finish at 5,947. 
 
The value of trades was $4.4 billion on volume of 587 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 15 points down.
 
Economic news

The ABS has shown both personal and commercial lending finance dipped for February with the falls coming despite record low interest rates. However housing finance did see a bump with owner occupied finance lifting 0.5 per cent. 
 
Company news
 
Ashley Services Group Limited (ASX:ASH) has acquired SILK Education in a deal worth $1.5 million upfront with additional payments of $3 million available based on future earnings. The training and recruitment company says acquisition brings strong knowledge of the training market in Victoria offering pathway opportunities between public and corporate markets. ASH closed at $1.17.
 
Shares in Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) are higher today as it changes work rosters across its operations as it continues to battle against ongoing instability in the iron ore market. The iron ore miner says the changes will bring work rosters into line with standard rosters worked in the Pilbara iron ore industry and strengthen the company’s position. Shares in Fortescue closed 3.38 per cent up at $1.83. 
 
Suncorp Group Limited (ASX:SUN) has appointed Michael Cameron, the CEO and Managing Director of GPT Group (ASX:GPT), as its new chief. 
 
Shares in Vmoto Limited (ASX:VMT) have soared today after predicting strong profit growth this year and beyond.  
 
Shopping Centres Australasia Property Group Limited (ASX:SCP) has inked a deal to buy the Whitsunday Shopping Centre for $46.98 million. 
 
Buru Energy Limited (ASX:BRU) has executed a Native Title Agreement with the Yawuru People of Western Australia to secure a production license for its Ungani oil field.
 
Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was energy adding 0.7 per cent to close at 11,399. The worst performing sector was consumer staples, losing 1 per cent to close at 9,347 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX), rising 6.86 per cent to close at $26.34. Shares in Ozforex Group Limited (ASX:OFX) and Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR), dropping 4.62 per cent to close at $9.28. Shares in Drillsearch Energy Limited (ASX:DLS) and Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,195 an ounce. Light crude is $0.23 up at $US53.74 a barrel.

The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7581