Losses in the big four banks have sent the ASX lower despite gains in resource stocks on the back of higher iron ore prices overnight. The share market finished 0.64 per cent lower.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 38 points down to finish at 5,908.
The value of trades was $5.5 billion on volume of 776 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB)
On the futures market the SPI is 39 points down.
Economic news from China also dampened investor enthusiasm with the figures showing China’s economy grew 7 per cent in the first quarter, the lowest rate in six years. Industrial production for March came in at 5.6 per cent, missing expectations of 7 per cent whilst retail sales also missed expectations rising 10.2 per cent.
Vista Group International Limited (ASX:VGI)
says subsidiary Vista Entertainment Solutions will enter an agreement with Cote Cine Group for CCG to become a distributer of its software throughout France, Europes largest box-office market. The deal should build a leading market share in the region. Shares in Vista Group closed flat at $4.10.
The board of PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA)
has voted against accepting the $1.71 per share takeover price offered by Guandong Rising Assets Management as inadequate. Shares are now trading above the offer price and PanAust says it is open to a higher offer from GRAM. Shares in PanAust closed 0.29 per cent lower at $1.74.
Freelancer Limited (ASX:FLN)
says it has generated record cash receipts of $8 million in the first quarter of this year and predicted strong revenue growth will continue.
Lend Lease Group (ASX:LLC)
does not expect a material impact to its annual earnings despite the Victorian government suspending the East West Link project.
Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL)
says it is on track to reach its annual output guidance despite production falling in the first quarter of this year.
And the proposed merger between Federation Centres (ASX:FDC)
and Novion Property Group (ASX:NVN)
is one step closer with approval from the Supreme Court of NSW for a shareholder vote on the deal.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was energy adding 1 per cent to close at 11,511. The worst performing sector was consumer discretionary, losing 1.6 per cent to close at 1,969 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Liquified Natural Gas, rising 13.57 per cent to close at $4.52. Shares in Senex Energy and Sundance Energy also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was GUD Holdings dropping 10.32 per cent to close at $7.91. Shares in Tassal Group and Bradken also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,194 an ounce. Light crude is $1.13 up at $US54.87 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 75.94 US cents.