The Australian share market closed 0.84 per cent down following losses in Wall Street overnight. It was a broad based sell-off with banks and miners leading the way lower.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 48 points down to finish at 5,725.
The value of trades was $5.3 billion on volume of 766 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
On the futures market the SPI is 40 points down.
The ABS has reported that construction fell 1.8 per cent in the March quarter, the seasonally adjusted figure was down 2.4 per cent. Total building work rose 2 per cent for the period offset by a 4.7 per cent tumble in engineering work.
Strike Energy Limited (ASX:STX)
says the Orica Limited (ASX:ORI)
has elected to make a first prepayment of $7.5 million as part of a Gas Sales Agreement brokered back in 2013. Under the agreement, Orica can make up t0 $52.5 million worth of prepayments to help fast track Strike’s Southern Cooper Basin gas project. The cash injection will allow Strike to progress to Phase 4 of its program. Shares in Strike Energy rose 4.17 per cent on the news to trade at $0.13.
Engineering company UGL Limited (ASX:UGL)
has scored a $190 million operations and maintenance contract with BP Australia. Under the new three year deal UGL will work on BP’s 17 fuel terminals across Australia through an incorporated 50:50 joint venture. Shares in UGL are up 2.99 per cent to $2.41.
Cardno Limited (ASX:CDD)
has announced the appointment of Richard Wankmuller as CEO commencing the end of June.
Meanwhile Hills Limited (ASX:HIL)
has appointed its current Chief Operating Officer Grant Logan as its new chief.
Programmed Maintenance Services Limited (ASX:PRG)
has seen its profit slip almost 16 per cent in the 12 months to the end of March.
And at its AGM today, Adelaide Brighton Limited (ASX:ABC)
provided a positive outlook on further strong growth for the company.
Best and worst performers
All sectors ended lower today. The sector with the least losses was real estate investment trusts down 0.3 per cent to close at 1,300. The worst performing sector was consumer staples, losing 1.8 per cent to close at 9,062 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was ALS, rising 5.07 per cent to close at $6.43. Shares in Northern Star and Adelaide Brighton also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Liquified Natural Gas, dropping 8.12 per cent to close at $3.96. Shares in Oz Forex and Karoon Gas also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,189 an ounce. Light crude is $1.69 down at $US58.03 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 77.61 US cents.