Market Wrap: ASX slides ahead of Fed statement

Market Reports


The Australian share market took a tumble 1.85 per cent lower today. There sell offs across all major sectors as some companies pulled back on forecasts whilst the earnings reports of others failed to fire investor enthusiasm. 
 
Investors are eagerly awaiting news from US markets overnight including preliminary GDP data and the policy statement from the US Federal Reserve. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 110 points down to finish at 5,839. 
 
The value of trades was $6 billion on volume of 772 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 107 points down.

Company news
 
Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) lifted retail sales in the third quarter. Sales growth for the Coles brand was up 5.4 per cent however convenience store sales showed a drop of near 17 per cent for the period. Double digit growth was reported from Bunnings, Officeworks and Kmart however Target sales dipped 1.6 per cent for the period. Wesfarmers shares ended 0.35 per cent lower at $43.00. 
 
Senex Energy Limited (ASX:SXY) cut full year production guidance after a 21 per cent decrease in sales revenue in the March quarter due to lower sales volumes and falling oil prices. Output for the 2015 financial year is now expected to be flat.  Shares in Senex closed 8.7 per cent down at $0.42. 
 
Recall Holdings Limited (ASX:REC) says it has reached a takeover agreement with US giant Iron Mountain. 
 
Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ) say recent severe weather in NSW will impact expectations for the June quarter. 
 
Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) have revised their insurance margin for the 2015 financial year to 10.5 to 12.5 per cent, down from a range of 13.5 to 15.5 per cent. 
 
And Genesis Energy Limited (ASX:GNE) has cut its forecast for the full year on lower oil prices and high sales competition. 
 
Best and worst performers

All sectors made losses today. The sector with the least falls was telco services slipping 0.7 per cent to close at 2,239. The worst performing sector was healthcare, slipping 2.6 per cent to close at 18,629 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was MMA Offshore (ASX:MRM), rising 5.43 per cent to close at $0.68. Shares in Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and M2 Group (ASX:MTU) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was the aforementioned Senex Energy (ASX:SXY). Shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) and Sims Metals Management (ASX:SGM) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,209 an ounce. Light crude is $0.07 at $US57.06 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 79.96 US cents.