Market Wrap: ASX falls 0.8% before RBA minutes

Market Reports

After falling 1.5 per cent over last week the Australian share market has dropped 0.8 per cent into the new week. Sentiment was sapped after China’s stimulus move over the weekend and amid lingering concerns about Greece’s debt problems. All but the telco sector ended in the red as the attention now turns to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s meeting minutes tomorrow. 

Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index retreated 45 points to finish at 5,833. 
 
The value of trades was $4.1 billion on volume of 605 million shares at the close of trade. 
 
The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 40 points lower.
 
Company news
 
Consumer law firm Slater and Gordon Limited (ASX:SGH) is a step closer to securing control of Quindell’s Professional Services Division in the UK. Quindell’s shareholders have backed the proposed $1.2 billion purchase and, with only a few more regulatory hurdles remaining, the deal is expected to close late next month. Shares in Slater and Gordon fell 4.8 per cent to close the session at $6.54. 
 
OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) has unveiled a new strategy and vowed to become a leaner, highly agile and decisive company focussed on growth and creating long-term value. The gold and copper miner says its new strategy will touch every part of its operation and demand a new way of working. Shares in OZ Minerals slipped 0.51 per cent to close the session at $3.89. 
 
Mining and steel group Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI) has shown it ramped up production in the third quarter despite being hit with the plunging price of iron ore.
 
Rail and ports operator Asciano Limited (ASX:AIO) has confirmed its target to improve annual earnings despite posting a decline in coal haulage over the third quarter.
 
Online job outsourcing company Freelancer Limited (ASX:FLN) has launched a new local initiative enabling users to match with local freelancers. 
 
Mining group Evolution Mining Limited (ASX:EVN) says it will combine with La Mancha Australia to form a growth focused Australian gold producer. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The only sector to end higher was telco services, adding 0.4 per cent to close at 2,187.
The worst performing sector was industrials, losing 1.4 per cent to close at 4,645 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Senex Energy Limited (ASX:SXY), rising 5.06 per cent to close at $0.42. Shares in GUD Holdings Limited (ASX:GUD) and Northern Star Resources Limited (ASX:NST) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI), dropping 11.76 per cent to close at $0.15. Shares in UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) and BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities
 
Gold is buying $US1,205 an ounce. 
Light crude is $0.79 lower at $US57.32 a barrel. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7821.