Market Wrap: ASX ends lower before RBA rate call

Market Reports

The Australian share market retreated more than 1 per cent at open but closed 0.7 per cent lower ahead of tomorrow’s Reserve Bank of Australia interest rate decision. Across the sectors property stocks rose and energy clawed out of the red on the back of a higher oil price while most other sectors struggled.  
 
On the economic front inflation remained under the RBA’s target in May, company profits lifted in the March quarter while house prices fell for the first time in six months in May. Local manufacturing activity was shown to have expanded in May while China’s factory activity also rose but missed expectations. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 retreated 42 points to close at 5,735. 
 
The value of trades was $4.2 billion on volume of 602 million shares at the close of trade. 
 
The top three stocks by value were Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and ANZ Banking Group Limited (ASX:ANZ)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 38 points lower.
 
Company news 
 
Shares in UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) jumped after revealing a round of job losses following the completion of its strategic review. The engineering company has also l flagged cost cuts, write downs and one-off charges and lowered its annual revenue guidance. Shares in UGL jumped 10.34 per cent to close at $2.56. 
 
Shares in Watpac Limited (ASX:WTP) rose after scoring a $55 million contract to build a secure facility for the Reserve Bank of Australia. The construction group says the building will be an important component of Australia’s financial infrastructure. Shares in Watpac rose 3.05 per cent to close at $0.84. 
 
Shares in Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX) soared after the drug developer released a positive update on its liver cancer medication Sirflox.
 
Shares in Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) ended steady after the uranium producer revealed it will pay about $15.8 million for an acquisition in Western Australia’s Carnarvon Basin
 
Shares in SAI Global Limited (ASX:SAI) dropped after disclosing it has been unable to come to terms with Standards Australia over a royalties claim and will head to arbitration.
 
Shares in Vocation Limited (ASX:VET) fell after the education provider issued a warning on its annual earnings while outlining its turnaround plan. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector was real estate investment trusts, adding 0.2 per cent to close at 1,312. 
The worst performing sector was consumer staples, losing 1.3 per cent to close at 8,994 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX), rising 14.39 per cent to close at $30.52. Shares in UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) and STW Communications Group Limited (ASX:SGN) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Seven Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SVW), dropping 6.16 per cent to close at $7.16. Shares in Drillsearch Energy Limited (ASX:DLS) and Technology One Limited (ASX:TNE) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities
 
Gold is buying $US1,191 an ounce. 
Light crude is $2.62 higher at $US60.30 a barrel. 
 
Currencies
 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7652. 

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